I have a two part question. Are two year olds allowed in the same classroom as infants under the age of 12 months? Also are two year olds required to be behind a firewall at all times?
Thank you for your question regarding mixed age groups. DSS Regulations do allow child care facilities to mix age groups of children as long as the ratios are maintained and there are enough caregivers for the number of children. An infant room is allowed to have a 2yr old in that room, however, the ratio must remain at the infant ratio which is 1 caregiver to 5 children. Anytime an infant or toddler child is within the mixed age group, the ratio remains at the infant or toddler ratio.
The second part of the question is facility specific because the fire codes dictate which rooms are approved as fire rated and which children should be kept in that room. Therefore, depending on that facility in which you are referring, 2yr old may be required to be in a fire rated room. Some facilities are totally fire rated and therefore may not be required to keep the 2yr old children in a specific room.
Thank you for your questions and feel free to contact me, 803-898-5082, if you want more information regarding a specific center.
Charlene G. Caldwell
Program Manager, Child Care Licensing
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Division of Early Care and Education