Maintaining adequate facilitator to child ratios is critical for a high-quality children’s care centre, and something that is important to consider when choosing a facility for your child. In fact, the number of children that are allowed per facilitator is often regulated. These ratios tend to vary depending on where you are in the country, but the infant ratios tend to be four to five babies per staff member.
Typically, the numbers increase as the children get older and grow more independent. However, most child care centres have at least two facilitators per child.
Why Are Facilitator to Child Ratios So Important?
The number one reason these ratios are so important is safety. It can be challenging for one person to properly and safely look after 15 toddlers – it is an age groups that requires just about constant attention. However, as children get older and they become more independent, the additional supervision helps to prevent them from getting hurt.
It can be daunting trying to meet the needs of young infants if there are not enough facilitators in a centre. Just imagine the logistics of trying to diaper, feed, and nurture ten babies. It would be just about impossible for one person to look after them alone all day.
- Prevent Abuse
Having a few adults working with a group of infants or children is important to prevent abuse. If one child accuses one teacher of abuse, the other teacher can vouch for them if they are innocent. What’s more, working together, the facilitators can manage the classroom effectively and reduce frustration, helping one another to remain calm. In infant classes, it can be tough hearing babies cry and having the support of another adult is critically important for preventing neglect or shaken baby syndrome.
- Relationship Building
Children tend to thrive when they build strong relationships with their facilitators. But, when it is down to just one staff member to look after a class of infants, it’s more difficult for them to nurture and bond with the kids in their care. This is another major reason why the ratios are lower for younger children since they need to be comforted and held more than toddlers.
- The Quality of Care
When there are enough facilitators in a centre, they are more likely to be able to introduce a high-quality level of care to help children grow and learn. Growth and progress happen when the caregivers are able to shift their focus from just managing a room to actually nurturing and teaching.
For infants, this means that their caregivers can model and help them develop relationships with one another.
There are a broad variety of reasons why a childcare centre may have some classes that are out of ration, such as a teacher calling in sick, children arriving early before the second facilitator, or parents requesting to bring their little ones in on a day they normally wouldn’t. All of these things are inevitable but reputable and high-quality centers will be prepared and have plans in place to comply with the important ratio requirements at all times.