Don't increase our kindergarten class size and take away a support person
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The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Clinton Street Junior Public School (Clinton JPS) are making a change to staffing and classroom sizes in the kindergarten classrooms that will adversely affect your child’s education, development and wellbeing.
Even though kindergarten enrolment numbers over the past 3 years has been stable, and similar enrolment numbers are predicted for the upcoming school year, the board and school have decided to drop one full time support person. The consequence? Some classrooms will have up to 30 students – an increase of up to 7 students per class – and at least one classroom will have only 15 students. The students in the classroom of 15 will lose their classroom support person.
Here's what we want
We know that a lower number of children in the classroom, relative to the number of qualified adults, leads to better developmental, behavioural, social and academic outcomes. We know that Ontario’s Ministry of Education requires an average kindergarten classroom ratio of 26 children to 2 qualified adults. We know that in the three previous years, the kindergarten classroom sizes at Clinton JPS ranged from 23 to 26 children, and there was one teacher and one early childhood educator (ECE) support person in each classroom.
Therefore, we want:
1. Each of the 3 kindergarten classroom sizes at Clinton JPS to reflect a more equal balance of children, with each of the classrooms benefitting equally from smaller class sizes, just like the three previous years.
2. Each classroom to be led by a teacher and supported by at least one ECE, just like the three previous years.
3. To be consulted on changes to classroom sizes BEFORE the teachers and ECEs are allocated to the kindergarten level, in accordance with the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) policies on consulting with parents and the community.
4. An effort by the TDSB and provincial government to further reduce class sizes over coming years, bringing them into alignment with emerging best practices, to support student learning.
Why this matters
- More teachers and more supports sets your child up for a brighter future.
Studies have shown that academic achievement is linked to the number of qualified adult educators (teachers and ECEs, for example) who are in the classroom with students. When there are more qualified adults in your child’s kindergarten classroom, the quality of your child’s early learning experience improves, and your child is likely to achieve higher developmental and academic outcomes.
- More adults in the classroom means better relationships and better behaviour.
When classroom sizes are lower children tend to behave better. In addition, when there are more adults in the classroom, the adults have more opportunities, and simply more time, to interact with the children on a one-on-one basis. This means that the adults in the classroom can be more proactive in helping our kids to connect positively with their peers and other adults, preventing disruptive behaviours, over-reliance on discipline, and unsafe environments before they start. These early supportive learning environments help to build positive relationships and are a critical stepping stone to improved behavioural and social outcomes in our children!
- Our governments, school boards, and teachers’ associations claim they care – let them prove it!
If you look at the regulations of the Ontario Ministry of Education and the policies and other resources of the TDSB and teachers’ associations, you will see everyone says class size matters and qualified adult to child ratios matter. If you have a child in kindergarten or if you simply care about the quality of early education in Ontario, this ratio should matter to you too because studies show that it is associated with developmental, social and behavioural outcomes and academic attainment.
The Education Act requires that boards have an average kindergarten classroom size of 26. Classrooms of this size typically have one teacher and at least one ECE support person. Clinton JPS was successful in staying at or slightly below that average for the past three years in each of the three kindergarten classrooms and so each classroom benefitted equally. Even though enrolment hasn’t really changed compared to the three previous years, TDSB and Clinton JPS have decided to swim against the stream of precedent, study data and the intent of the Education Act itself. They’ve dropped one support person and altered with classroom sizes in a way that brings some classes well above the Ministry’s required average, far beyond the school’s own classroom average, and beyond the ratios recommended by studies. The quality of your child’s early education is about to change dramatically and this may have a lasting impact!
On class size
Ratios for four and five year olds in ECEC programs (including kindergarten)
On engagement of parents and the community
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