What does the issue of staff to student ratios mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
At our kindergarten we currently have 8 tamariki with learning needs including autism, speech delays/ non verbal, Down Syndrome, physical disabilities, global developmental delay and anxiety. The allocation of Education Support Worker (ESW) support hours and the ratios of 1:10 make meeting these children’s needs (and the children without such disabilities) impossible. It is so demoralizing coming to work on a daily basis knowing that I cannot help children reach their potential. At times I find it difficult to even ensure all children’s safety, let alone teach in meaningful ways. We desperately need an improvement in ratios and more funding for learning support.
What will it take to fix staff to student ratios?
We need more funding for ESWs. I think it should be comparable with primary schools’ funding, and a 1:7 ratio of teachers to children. This is what overseas research suggests is ideal for 4 year olds.
When we fix staff to student ratios, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
If ratios were improved it would make it so much easier to find moment where I could work one-on-one with tamariki. I know the children’s learning and wellbeing (and my wellbeing) would be vastly improved.