Currently there is no regulation specifying what the maximum class size or number of children per group in a centre must be.
Our position is that class size needs to be regulated to ensure that not too many children can be cared for in the same space.
Additionally, each class should have the same consistent teachers daily who are responsible for them.
Note that when we were at Alert Level 3 for Covid-19 in NZ, services were required to implement bubble sizes of no more than 20 children, in the same physical space, with no mixing of children and adults between bubbles. It was done. Setting a limit on group sizes can work. It is wise to do this to help to protect children's and adults' physical health and it is optimal for children's learning and social-psychological development.
We surveyed people on their views of the impact of changes in regulations to allow centres to triple the number of children from 50 to 150 children. With this information we forewarned the Ministry and the Government of what the likely negative impacts would be, and sadly for children and the quality of ECE provision in NZ much of this has come true.
We have continued to work to raise awareness of group size as a factor impinging on child health, the quality of relationships children are able to have with teachers, and the quality of learning. We are pleased that regulating for group size is now back on the policy agenda. We are making sure that it remains to be seen as a key issue, does not get shuffled to one side or taken off the policy agenda, and gets addressed instead of being put into the 'too hard' to regulate or fund baskets.