This draft post (now a real ‘post’) has been just sitting in the Dashboard for ages and until now never really made it up the priority life list : )
It’s a really important issue and since the debate in the UK started over a proposed increase to nursery supervision (the number of children that each adult can supervise), there has been a huge backlash from just about every associated group – hardly surprising really.
So, going from 4 children to 6 is a 50% rise – will this have positive outcomes? What will the level of care or support be which someone can give to 6 toddlers?
How on earth can you take 6 toddlers out at once? This would not be possible, unless it’s just to a very secure area connected to the actual nursery. It would be madness and unsafe, particularly travelling along roads.
It’s worth saying that I have two boys (6 and 4) and when they were 4 and 2 they were a lot more of a handful than they are now. Looking after 6 toddlers which aren’t your own children must be very difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. I would imagine most countries have standards where more than 6 toddlers routinely are placed with a single carer. It can be done, but that is only a very small part of the issue. Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done, or that it is the best interests of the toddlers.
The amount of attention each toddler would receive would be minimal – and that at the most important part of their development as a human, in terms of character, empathy and intelligence. This is when they learn the most basic emotional skills.
One of my main issues with the standard school (or child-care) system is the numbers involved. 30 children to one teacher (and a teaching assistant) at primary school. Maybe 6 toddlers to a ‘carer’ at nursery? This is not going in the right direction. How are we expecting children (young and older) to learn moral, spiritual and intellectual lessons when contact with adults is going down? The level of positive influences would also seem to go down. Attention, love and guidance from caring adults is essential in child development. Obviously interacting with other kids is also vital to child development and each need to be balanced.