Teacher helping a student

A secure and supportive relationship with her teacher is fundamental to a young child’s development.

Removing caps on Ontario’s elementary class sizes will compromise the secure relationships between teachers and students that are essential to children’s healthy development and academic achievement, say two experts in the field.

Nikki Martyn, program head of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Guelph Humber, and Elena Merenda, the assistant program head, wrote an article sharing their concerns about the Ford government’s announcement that it will consider removing hard caps on class sizes after the next academic year.

Currently, kindergarten classes are capped at 29 pupils, and Grades 1 – 3 at 23. Fluctuations during the course of a school year can mean classes of even higher numbers.

“Increasing class sizes above these current numbers will have a detrimental effect on the relationships built between teachers and children, thus affecting children’s learning and development,” say the authors. Such relationships are even more critical for children who lack that cohesion at home.

“A child’s secure relationship with teachers lays the foundation for children’s capacity to learn,” they add. “Secure relationships correlate with higher academic achievement, better self-regulation and increased social competence.”

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