Monday, August 02, 2010

Is it just a case of Staffing for Ratio Purposes, or more?

On Sunday evening, whilst I was attending service at the Anglican church nearby, I received a private call on my phone. Dismissing it as probably an overseas call from my over-worried parents, I did not pick the call up.

However, seconds later, I received a text from Agent E informing me that there was work in the nearby vicinity and I should call if I was available for work the next day.

So I returned the call.  I was really surprised, as this was the first time ever to have heard from the Agency on a weekend, and what more on a Sunday evening!

I was surprised to hear that the centre assigned was one I had been to. As there had been some mix-ups some weeks ago, it has made me more cautious in finding out information on age groups before receiving an assignment.

The agent informed me that the centre is aware that I am unable to work with the certain age groups, but they still wanted me to go in. (or probably could re-arrange the teachers, I guess?) Since they were fine with that, I was more than happy to accept the assignment.

4 Adults To 20 odd children . . .

So today I woke up to a really chilly morning. I was really praying hard for a good day at work after some rather "hard-hitting" experiences in the past few weeks. >.<

What I realised at work today was there were 4 adults for a preschool (3-5 years- for NSW) classroom with about 23 children and one child (who had a minor degree of autism/special needs) in a privately funded learning centre.

Isn't that costly?

The group leader and assistant worked really well together.

Another male casual staff, M, from the same agency brought a digeridoo and clapping sticks. He even brought a bag of story books (with one by Pamela Allen). I am seriously amazed at how he was able to carry a digeridoo... if he was driving, it would make sense to bring it. But if one was taking public transport, say the train, or bus, it is a bit heavy to lug around, i must say.

M told the tale of the digeridoo really well... it was my first time seeing a digeridoo, so I was impressed as well. He was that good! ^^

The group leader, P, and the assistant, X, were really warm, and friendly.

2 Adults to 25 Children. . . 
Compare this experience to my time in the privately run centre I was at not too long ago where there were almost 25 children in the room, with only two adults to spare. One adult had to prepare the room, and the other adult to manage the children.

I can really understand how much more difficult it is to only have two adults in a room, where there are about 25 preschool aged children.

Does that theory runs true, seriously?

Still, I remember my time when I was sent for work at this charity run childcare centre in Canterbury, where there were only two adults to about 16 toddler aged children (18 months - 2 years) classroom two years back. I was there for a number of weeks and, even though there were only two adults to 16 toddlers, we were able to somehow manage well.

For quite a number of occasions, I had to have lunch with the children in the room with the other teacher (who also did not leave the room once throughout the day!) but there were no complaints and it was challenging, but at the end of the, it was good.

So among the other questions, is, was it a question of: 

1) The children adult ratio and whether that affects the entire classroom mood?

2) The compatibility of the teacher's temperament to the children's temperament?

3) Does staffing ratio affects a teacher's temperament and ability to manage the classroom?
Say if the teacher had a "sanguine phlegmatic" temperament vs a "choleric melancholic" temperament in a room of 25 children : 2 adult vs 25 children: 4 adults. What would the outcome be?

WHAT I Like About the Centre Today

Still however, what I really like about the centre I went today, is that the staff do not have the type of "high expectations" of casual relief Early Childhood Teachers that come in to the room.

I also liked the fact that the group leader had a lovely way of relating to the children. If not wrong, I could almost readily assume she had a "sanguine phlegmatic" temperament, and not once did she even lose her temper.

When she was reading a book at group time, one of the younger preschoolers came up to her and gave her a hug. She told him to sit down and join the rest of the group, but she did not once lose her temper with the children, which was really lovely to see.

I gave P and X a hug before I left. I really hope to meet more staff like them in future. ^^

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