Unit One The Children and You
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
well-being of children are being met. The quality
of programs is infl uenced by the following
• teacher-child ratio
• group size
• staff qualifi cations
• adult-child interaction
Teacher-child ratio is important because
teachers can be more responsive and interactive
when there are fewer children in the group.
They can also provide more individualized
attention. See Figure 2.8 for the adult-child
ratios recommended for various age groups by
the National Association for the Education of
Young Children (NAEYC). When there are a large
number of children per caregiver, the children’s
behavior and adult-child interaction are impacted.
Group size also affects the quality of a child’s
experience. Group size should be infl uenced
by the age of the children. Check your state’s
licensing guidelines. These regulations mandate
the minimum ratio and maximum group size.
NAEYC also has suggested guidelines.
Staff qualifi cations are another factor affecting
quality programs. Staff should have specifi c
training in early childhood education and child
development. A large national study showed that
teachers with this background had better adult-
child interaction skills and were more positive. As
a result, the children enrolled in these programs
showed greater cognitive and social skills. It is
recommended that full-time head teachers have
a bachelor’s degree in child development or early
childhood education. Some teachers may have
graduate degrees, although assistant teachers
usually have less education than head teachers.
Warm, caring, encouraging, and intentional
adult-child interactions are at the heart of a
quality early childhood program. Through social
interactions, young children learn to communicate,
think and reason. Their confi dence increases as
well as their motivation, which will make them
more engaged and successful learners.
Selecting a Child Care
Selecting an early childhood program is one
of the most important decisions that parents
make. Comfort with the children’s care and
education can greatly affect the quality of family
life (Figure 2.9). For this reason, parents need to
make this decision carefully.
Figure 2.9 Parents are greatly comforted when
they see their children playing happily in the early
childhood program they have chosen.
Recommended Adult-Child Ratios
Age of Children Recommended Ratio
6 weeks to 1 year 1 adult to 3 children
1 to 2 years 1 adult to 5 children
2 to 3 years 1 adult to 6 children
3 to 5 years 1 adult to 8 children
5 to 6 years 1 adult to 10 children