Like any successful business, child care providers must be prepared for an increase in traffic during busy seasons. Childcare enrollments often fluctuate, but it is always important to refresh your memory with the number one rule I stand by, which is: teacher-to-child ratio.
As the owner of a child care facility, I’m always aware of how many staff members are overseeing each classroom in order to benefit them and the children’s needs. The National Association for the Education of Young Children requires a staff-child ratio of either 1-to-3 or 1-to-4 for infants and/or toddlers.
It becomes vital to follow a strict ratio in order to create a safe environment, build strong relationships and increase the quality of care.
Having a low staff-to-child ratio enables caregivers to properly care and keep a close eye on toddlers playing with toys and possibly putting themselves in danger. It can be very difficult to manage 10 or more toddlers at a time in order to feed, clean, manage changing diapers, etc. It is easy for a caregiver to lose track of time or simply keep track of every child’s well-being.
Caregivers are able to communicate better and create special relationships with an appropriate amount of children. With less time managing and supervising the room, staff members are able to create more time for one-on-one interactions and create a strong bond with each child.
With more individualized attention, caregivers are able to distinguish certain needs, wants and personalities for each child. This becomes helpful when trying to disciple, educate and care for them.
Quality of Care:
More may not always be better in this scenario. As a child care facility – yes, it is important to fill your center, but in a safe manner!
Make sure to ask yourself, do you have the space to continue adding children to your program?
Do you have enough resources and/or capability to staff more individuals as quantity increase?
If you answered no to any of the questions above I would reconsider your enrollment. Quality is always better than quantity. Having a larger staff-to-child ratio may increase stress on staff members and decrease child interactions.
It’s a common and more importantly a required practice to regulate your staff and children ratio. If it has been a while since you’ve calculated your center’s ratio – I highly suggest you do! You can do so at your State’s Department of Child and Families Services.