Re: Preschoolers - August Discussion
posted at 8/31/2013 11:33 PM EDT
link to complete 2010 MA licensing regs: 7.10 is what you want to look at.
7.10 (b) and (c)
so the ratios are still mostly the same as I rememger: infants 1:3, 2:7, toddlers 1:4, 2:9, 1:10, 2:20 for preschoolers in a full day program (in a half day program you can have 2 teachers with 24 preschoolers for some reason).
then for the first 2 and last 2 hours of the day for a full day program (childcare center) you can do the mixed age grouping in that chart. so you can have up to 9 infant/toddlers, but no more than 3 can be infants (I'm assuming that's less than 15 mos of age)and you have to have 2 teachers once you get to the 4th infant/toddler. In a toddler/preschool mixed group you can have 2 teachers with 9 children, and 1 teacher has to be a toddler teacher and 1 has to be a preschool teacher (probably for continuity and knowledge of age group, that's good). preschool/school age group has 2:20, so that's no different than the rest of the day.
My guess? They have the right # of kids with the 2 teachers, but it might be that there are some from 2 preschool rooms, AND the open ended, free play of the morning is making it look, seem, and be chaotic. That is, we don't plan sit down, teacher directed, activities during drop off/pickup because the teachers need to be available to parents who need to have a quick word - can't do that if I'm up to my eyeballs in paint, or trying to make sure the painting project doesn't get out of hand, or if I'm reading a book at circle time to the kids. BUT sometimes that goes the other way and it's just plain old CRAZY with kids in all areas of the room, making choices (and dumping stuff), the teachers are spending time with the parents (or at least 1 of the 2 is) and so that leaves only 1 other teacher (or 2 half teachers) supervising the kids, and if it's 1/2 the kids from preschool 1 and 1/2 the kids from preschool 2 (until 9am or whenever when all 4 preschool teachers are there and they can split into their regular rooms with their 2 teachers) then the kids aren't used to working together as a team and in the room and, well, chaos reigns. Add the fact that some (many) kids need some help to transition from parent to teacher/school, and the teachers have their hands full, and only 2 teachers for 20 kids. (or in a toddler room, 2 teachers and 9 kids, that's hairy when many are 15 mons old, believe me!)
So. the teachers (with help from the director) need to sit down and discuss how they can make the morning drop off period work better - perhaps have a few areas that are "open" with really fun (and easily supervised) things to do? Or make sure that they choose specific directed activities at the tables so as to limit the 'dumping' or to start doing opening in the younger preschool room (I hated it when my older preschool was the opening room and the 2.9 yr olds would put their hands in the fish tank, dump the counting bears all over the place, etc.) And perhaps a parent or two is dropping their preschooler off before going to the toddler room with younger sib so the toddler is all over the place, dumping, choking, chewing, etc. on the materials? (THAT was a joy, and it happened daily....)
I always liked have puzzles at the table, or playdough, or crayons and paper - something that wasn't too messy but would engage the chlidren, sitting down, and focusing. If it's rice or something easy in the sensory table, I'd also open that, but not water or flour, those are messy, slippery, and will get out of hand quickly. In the block area, the blocks and animals and cars were open, but not the BIG BLOCKS because we couldn't supervise them properly. Science (with the itty bitty magnets, magnifying glasses, etc.) wasn't open at that time of day - that was something used when the day was calmer and kids could be more careful.
I'd ask for a serious discussion with the director, have her flip the page open to the licensing regs, and explain them because you are totally confused by them (I think I understand them, but...). And tell her you are really concerned about how crazy it seems to be in the mornings and you'd like to see what they can do to get it a bit calmer. Could they have an earlier snack? Or....