The ratio of children to teachers is not a new topic. It is one element that every parent will ask about when searching for a preschool for their children. It seems that one on one attention is simply something that is valued, especially where preschool education is concerned.
There are so many reasons for the child to teacher ratio being important in a daycare, and very few scenarios that could prove it doesn’t matter.
Infants Need to Learn through Varied Stimulation
The most prominent reason why the ratio of infants to teachers matters is that there are different learning areas like motor, cognitive and social. Infants and young children need to be stimulated through sensory play. Neuro-pathways still have to form. More one on one attention allows staff to find what captures each little mind’s attention, and ensure that the skills are learned.
Infant Daycare Spans Several Developmental Stages
There are many studies and articles available that explain child development patterns . Most of these studies agree that the majority of a child’s psyche is formed by age seven. There are also studies that indicate the length of each stage in months, then years, the older the child gets. That essentially means that the window for certain learning and adjustments to take place in a healthy manner are much smaller at this young infancy stage.
In Infancy, Most Learning is Assisted
During a child’s younger years and especially during infancy, a child learns things through direct contact. These include learning to recognize facial expressions. This eventually leads to a person’s ability to interact appropriately on a social and professional level. Another area where there might be a difference when compared to children of the same age from schools with a better ratio is the rate at which a child begins talking. Communication in children is a taught skill. Additionally, infants need assistance initially with movements like rolling over and sitting up. Without the necessary assistance, these motor skills do not develop and this may impact cognitive and motor function later on.
Infant Routines Overlap
Many parents will keep similar schedules for their children. This means that basic regular tasks like feeding and changing and putting down for naps will need to happen with infants almost simultaneously. A higher ratio renders this infant routine difficult to maintain, which in turn leads to parents not being satisfied with the amount of care and attention their child is receiving.
Florida State Regulates the Child to Teacher Ratio in Infant Daycare
In recognition of the numerous studies the show the benefits of a lower child to minder ratio, Florida State has regulations as well as guidelines on the number of children per room for an educational facility. From 6 weeks there needs to be four infants to each adult and that doesn’t change much when they are 18 months, where two additional children can be watched by a single adult.
A Lower Ratio is a Response to Parent Concerns
There seems to be a resounding agreement on parent forums regarding a lower ratio being better, for the obvious reasons of safety as well as the issues of attention above what is absolutely necessary. When put another way, think about one person having to look after four or five babies and you will get a sense of the ratio on a more personal level.
With infant daycare, child to teacher ratios matter for the following bottom line, safety reasons aside. Engagement and repetition are key for cognitive, motor, linguistic, and social learning to take place effectively. There are long term impacts from this very short developmental stage. An infant daycare with a lower ratio allows staff to incorporate learning methods that stimulate your child’s brain into daily infant activities.