Special Education/children with disabilities in preschool classes
I work in a licensed preschool. Our class size is 12:1. We have five children in our class with learning disorders and severe behavioral issues - two of them were born to mothers on methadone. I spend most of my time on classroom management - not teaching. I'm looking for any studies/laws/articles that would address this problem. Should class size be 12:1 when children with such severe behavioral issues are involved? What do experts say on this topic? It is happening more these days and most preschool teachers are not trained to deal with such behavioral issues.
Thank you for your question. The reality of education is often quite different than the process undertaken on the front lines of learning. Many states have class size mandates but non that I know of reach into the realm of pre-school with regards to the types of children and their behaviors. Pre-schools may try to keep class sizes down for economic reasons but when those numbers are negatively mitigated by the type of child and their behaviors those mandates are essentially meaningless, as you have discovered.
Even in within k-12 Special Education classes there is a trend toward packing students within a numerical mandate but not within the more important behavioral standards, making any substantive management almost impossible.
The Districts are primarily behind these trends and mostly for financial reasons. I'ts less expensive to close a sever class and distribute those students within less sever populations, even within general populations rather than support a classroom that had a 1/5 ratio. These tactics are deplorable but unfortunately the written laws are too vague to pinpoint specific infractions, especially when parents sign off on IEP's and fail to take action against those districts.
I left the profession for that very reason. I suspect it will get worse with more responsibility falling on the teachers and aides and even less upon the Districts who are complicit and responsible for these outrageous and openly greedy motivations.
I'm sorry I can't give you what you want but even if you had that specific information, what would you do with it? you need to ask yourself how much you need the job, how much you like the job and how much of the present situation can you tolerate?
I wish you the best.