There are several aspects in the design of educational programmes that can affect the development of a child. Some of these core pillars that directly impact a programmes’ quality include class sizes, learning environment and student-teacher ratios.
This is especially so in Early Intervention Programmes that are aimed at helping children make progress and catch up with their peers in areas in which they have or are experiencing delays. In light of the amendments to staff-child ratio regulations, we explore the importance of and influence student-teacher ratios have on improving developmental outcomes.
Understanding Student-Teacher Ratios
There is no denying that effective programmes offer developmentally appropriate and enriching learning environments. Regardless of the education systems and philosophies, at the heart of early childhood education lies the interaction between the children and their educators.
Understanding the weight that this holds on a child’s learning process, Singapore has welcomed para-educators and para-educarers to support teachers in the care and development of children. This strategic change will not only lower child-teacher ratios but also enhance learning environments, maintaining a high quality of education.
Defining Child-Teacher Ratio
Referring to the number of students for each teacher in a class, the teacher-student ratio is a reflection of the personal guidance each child will receive. In Singapore, specific guidelines have to be abided by to ensure that all children receive the proper care and attention required for their development.
Although these guidelines only demonstrate the minimum requirements, at MindChamps, the teacher-child ratio for our early childhood programmes are maintained at an optimal 2:5 to increase its effectiveness and significantly contribute to a child’s classroom experience.
Benefits of a Small Teacher to Student Ratio
Studies on the correlation between the number of students per teacher and students’ achievement have shown that students’ achievements were lowered when there were more students under the wings of a single teacher. Such results suggest the beneficial outcomes of a smaller teacher to student ratio. This is based on the assumption that a lower child-teacher ratio allows educators to cater more time to each child. As a result, teachers can further their understanding of a child’s needs, customising learning solutions regardless of varied learning needs.
From promoting secure attachment and responsive relationships to achieving better cooperative behaviours and timely teacher intervention, guiding a child through their learning journey becomes easier for well-trained teachers.
Effects on Early Intervention Programmes
Given the effectiveness of a small child-teacher ratio, the improved student engagement will also translate well into Early Intervention Programmes (EIPs).
Developmental delays in movement, speech, social skills, and the like can act as a hurdle in a child’s path to academic success. As such, EIPs are designed to offer educational support and therapy to close gaps between a child and their peers through early intervention. The urgency most parents would face in ensuring their child develops at a pace quick enough to enhance their chances of entering mainstream schools is common in Singapore. Hence offering your children the undivided attention of a multi-disciplinary team is essential.
Research has revealed much about how a child learns and develops. Early childhood years are a time when developmental changes can have a profound impact on a child’s future methods of learning and mindset development. As such, making full use of the opportunities during this critical phase must be considered. For example, you can design programmes and a conducive learning environment that provide better instructional attention for children who require additional support.
Ensuring Lifelong Positive Impact on a Child’s Progress
Aside from determining the ideal classroom ratio, the integration of evidence-based practices and clinical expertise succeeds at improving therapy outcomes. At MindChamps Allied Care, our team of highly qualified educators and therapists adopt the ChampionGold Standard, a set of quality benchmarks, to provide the best learning experience for each child.
Focusing on creating learning opportunities based on essential assessment data collected, our educators are able to monitor progress and re-evaluate individualised goals when necessary. Through the integration of such a comprehensive framework in our EIP, the holistic development of a child is within reach.