What's the importance of having a low child-staff ratio in your child’s care?

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As parents and caregivers, we all know the importance of spending quality time with our children. When a child receives direct attention, he or she has a better chance at gaining enhanced listening and learning skills as well as feeling appreciated and loved. When it comes to a childcare setting, children also benefit from having direct interaction with a teacher or a staff member. Although it’s impossible to provide one on one attention for every child, it’s very important that the ratio of teacher to student remains low.

What exactly does a low child-staff ratio mean? It’s literally the maximum number of children that can be supervised by a single care provider. The ratio number is based on the age of the child and can be seen in this chart below.


Many research studies show that low child-staff ratios and group sizes have a positive impact on the overall quality of early and school-age care and education programs as well as the experiences that children have in those programs. This is a position recommended by ABC Quality as well as national organizations such as Head Start, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Experts say that the quality interactions found in a low group ratio setting also help contribute to positive impacts on children, including enhanced learning, language and academic development. Having a provider supervise only a small number of children also helps ensure the safety and welfare of a child throughout the course of a day with children being less likely to get injured or sick. From a psychological standpoint, having more direct attention from a provider also helps children feel safe and secure and reduces feelings of being overwhelmed.

Providers also benefit from low group ratios because it allows them to focus on the needs of a small group of children much more efficiently than a large group. And like the children, the small group size also helps prevent a provider from feeling overwhelmed.

So, if you are a new parent and selecting a day care provider for your child, be sure and ask a potential provider about their child-staff ratio. It can mean a world of difference for your child.

For more information on child staff ratios and how they relate to the ABC Quality rating system for day care providers throughout South Carolina, visit http://www.scchildcare.org/providers/become-an-abc-provider/abc-ratios.aspx.

Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.

By ABC Quality Team at 19 Mar 2019, 11:00 AM