What does the issue of staff to student ratios mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
Currently the regulated ratios are 100% not meeting the diverse needs of our kindergarten community. The ratios do not reflect the reality of working in kindergartens and how vastly different this looks from 20 years ago. Our tamariki are not receiving top quality education and care at our kindergarten because kaiako are unable to spend quality time engaged in meaningful teaching. We have many high needs learners on our roll who require extra time and attention, and we also have 10 two year olds which means one of our kaiako is spending their entire day involved in care routines that revolve around changing nappies and sleeping – effectively taking them off the floor. Most of the time we feel like we are just ‘crowd control’, just trying to keep our tamariki safe.
What will it take to fix staff to student ratios?
There needs to be a recognition that the current ratios are not fit for purpose and that kindergarten learning communities have changed and diversified. The ratios for 2 year olds need to be SO much lower than they are, and there needs to be an understanding that when you have numerous high needs learners within one setting, it is impossible to teach at a ratio of 1:10 as many of these tamariki require one-on-one time for huge chunks of our day.
When we fix staff to student ratios, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?
It will enable us to do what we are passionate about and love doing – TEACH. Our tamariki will be getting the quality education and care they deserve and our community needs will be being met