Adult to Child Ratio
Another important issue is that of the adult to children ratio. In probably the majority of cases, the adult to child ratio in Nigerian preschool institutions is something like 1:30 across the board.
In daycare with babies and infants, it might be as low as 1:7 but with children aged from two years up, the ratio is inordinately high i.e. there are too many children for one adult. Both experience and research show that children require a great deal of adult attention and that the fewer children attended to by one adult, the greater and better the care received.
For reasonable care, the following ratios are suggested. For children aged three to five years old, adult/child ratio of 1:20, children aged four to six 1:15, infants 1:5.
Relating with Parents
There are particular demands which emanate from the nature of children, e.g., dealing with parents. Dealing with parents is a factor for which every administrator of children’s programs has to make careful arrangements/allowances.
Because parents generally understand children’s behavior better than others, the prudent administrator should plan to involve them quite early in interpreting policy. Parents would also make a valuable contribution in curriculum areas and are usually willing to provide voluntary help in cash or kind whenever they can.
Since the continued improvement of practice is an implicit goal of any organization, the administrator should engage in continuous assessment and evaluation of the program.
This way, avenues are left open for changes and improvement as the needs arise. Problems in the Administration of Children’s Programmes
The first obvious problem is ignorance. Just as in the case of those who teach children, many who find themselves administering children’s programs are ignorant of the needs of children and the skills required in such a position.
Many believe that what is good for adults is good for children and when parents patronize these programs are themselves not aware of the inadequacy of those in the saddle even that source of pressure towards change cannot be harnessed.
The second source of the problem is the parent’s Many parents shirk their responsibility towards their children in teaching and instilling discipline.
They instead push their children out into these programs hoping that someone out there will take charge and clear up their mess Some parents can also be faulted for failing to co-operate with the program administrators. When they do not attend scheduled meetings. Or provide maternal required by their children, when they do not pay their contributions or prescribed fees when due, they are sabotaging the administration of their children’s programs.
Frequently, the government does not provide clear guidance and direction in matters relating to children. The case of a curriculum for early childhood education is a good example of this type of neglect, for whereas policy pronouncements in the case of other levels are backed with firm actions, in the case of pre-primary education, many of the pronouncements end on paper.
Those who would administer or run pre-school establishments have been obliged to grope around for direction. Many policy undertakings are contained in the National Policy on Education (NPE). In respect of pre-primary education have still not been implemented
Children’s programs are as special as children themselves and their administration requires sensitivity, knowledge, skill, and humane commitment.
Just as teaching children requires expert skill and should be handled by the most mature and most experienced teacher, so the administration of children’s programs should be handled by mature, skillful, and self-realizing men and women who have been professionally trained.
Since specialized courses on the administration of various types are now common in universities, it is suggested that specialization in the administration of children’s program become a stress area in administration It is intolerable that matters concerning children should be treated with levity as is generally the case in Nigeria.
From views so far expressed, it is obvious that the administrator can make or mar a program, it is therefore suggested that a careful selection training and recruitment policy be evolved for preparing administrators of children’s programs.
The time is ripe to evolve a clear policy to upgrade all children’s programs especially those for young children, so that nursery schools, day-care centers, and all other establishments concerned with children should be subsidized and their activities monitored by the government.
The time is ripe, too, for a multidisciplinary and multi-organizational approach to child-care in this country.
People in medicine, education, sociology, nursing, politics, and administration should team up to make child-care and its administration a national priority in our development planning.
Teachers of Young Children
Scholars and students of human development have shown that children think differently from adults. It follows therefore that they learn differently from adults. Earlier, we have considered both the activities and curricula adequate for young children.
We have also considered their needs – socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, and have along the lines of these needs suggested adequate learning activities and pursuits.
The question now is, who should teach young children?
What characteristics – personality and professionalism should such teachers possess?
Since the needs of pre-school children revolve around emotional security, the most important attribute of an aspiring teacher of young children is probably that she be nurturant, caring, and genuinely interested in and concerned for children. We shall discuss the qualities of the teacher of young children based on personality characteristics and professional skills.
It has been said that the nursery school is an upward extension of the home, therefore the teacher at that level needs to relate to the child in much the same way as the mother, that is to say, to provide care and nurturing and therefore emotional security.
The teacher has to be warm, caring and should possess that accepting attitude which enables young children to adapt easily to an adult. She must be healthy and energetic, for the care of pre-schoolers is a physically tasking undertaking, requiring constant movement, briskness, and quick reactions in cases of emergency.
Patience and long-suffering are essential qualities since young children do