People have been using the phrase ‘The more, the merrier' for nearly 500 years—and while this can be true on many occasions, that’s not the case when it comes to the size of a preschool class.
As described by ChildCare.gov, having the optimal child-to-adult ratio is important for three crucial reasons—your child’s health, safety, and development.
When child-to-adult ratios are low, your child can benefit from more personalized attention and receive the unique instruction they deserve. “This responsive caregiving,” ChildCare.gov states, “is extremely important to your child's social and emotional growth, as well as physical fitness.”
But the benefits of smaller class sizes don’t stop there. Here are some other reasons why you should consider avoiding an overcrowded classroom.
Personalized attention helps a child to feel secure in an environment away from home while lowering feelings of being overwhelmed. Because adults in the classroom can respond to situations more quickly, children are less likely to get hurt—and if they don’t feel well, adults are able to monitor the situation and act in the child’s best interests.
The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes also chimes in on the subject. Small class sizes allow children to form good relationships with adults and children in the group and give teachers time to individually notice each child and provide instruction and interactions that are child-centered and meaningful. Children are more able to be creative in small group environments and tend to improve their vocabulary with greater ease.
Here's one more key factor: When teachers aren’t overwhelmed by having too many students, they’ll feel less burned out. This makes it more likely they’ll stay at a preschool—with children benefiting from having consistent caregivers.
Ohio Preschool Sizes
The younger a child is, the more adults should be in the room and the smaller the classroom size should be.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, here are preschool rules surrounding classes and ratios:
Children aged 30 months to less than three years:
- 1:8 adult-to-child ratio
- Maximum class size of 14
- 1:12 adult-to-child ratio
- Maximum class size of 24
Four- and five-year-old children (not yet in kindergarten)
- 1:14 adult-to-child ratio
- Maximum class size of 28
The Learning Policy Institute cites research that shares what already makes sense, intuitively speaking: quality matters when you want to reap the short- and long-term benefits of sending your child to preschool.
In other words, size matters—but it’s not enough if the quality isn’t present. Elements needed for a successful preschool program include:
- “Well-qualified educators”
- “developmentally appropriate program”
- “adequate learning time for students”
Building blocks, the site shares, include teachers who are prepared and use a well-thought-out curriculum. What else matters: family engagement in meaningful ways and support for any special needs, including for children who are still learning English.
Horizon Education Centers
At Horizon, we right-size our preschool programs to provide your child with the most enriching experience possible. In our programs, your child will benefit from our focus on:
- Kindergarten readiness
- Literacy skills
- Verbal and social skills
- Numbers and letters recognition
Plus, we conduct developmental screenings and assessments to provide parents with the information they need to make the best decisions for their children. We offer part-time and full-time preschool programs, with some of our centers also offering wrap-around care to help busy working families.