What does the issue of staff to student ratios mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

We have children 2 – 5 in our kindergarten room. Some days we have up to 20 2 year old’s. I really notice the impact on these days as we spend a lot of time on the routines but also find there is less time for the emotional and social support our tamariki require. Ratios 1:5 would be such a help in being able to support our children and have the time to give lots of rich literacy and language input too. I have noticed that since covid children need extra support in all these areas including play skills. Better ratios would allow us the time and space to support our neurodivergent and disabled tamariki too. At our kindergarten we have a trained EIT so have the skills but struggle to have the time to be able to implement strategies. Kaiako are stretched and always giving it their all, but burn out is never far.

What will it take to fix staff to student ratios?

Change ratios for 2 year old’s.

When we fix staff to student ratios, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

HUGE! I really worry what we are doing to the future generations with the way ECE is going. Children need strong connections, support emotionally and socially and rich language experiences. Kaiako would be less stretched and stressed which is important for wellbeing and means they are able to be more patient and supportive of our tamariki in every way. Stressed working environments should not be part of ECE. I would hope that better ratios would not mean larger numbers but reduced group sizes. The loud and busy environments can be harmful for children who are sensory sensitive.

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