What’s the Ideal Child-to-Caregiver Ratio for Daycare?

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An important question from our series on Questions to Ask During a Daycare Tour regarded the amount of staff at a child care center compared to the number of children or students in attendance. For us, the perfect question is “What is your ratio of staff to children?”

This is an important question because you want to be 100% certain your child is receiving the proper care and attention during their time at a daycare or preschool. It will be impossible for a daycare’s employees to devote the essential time to your child each day if they are overworked. That is why childcare ratios are legally required by each state.

But, what is a good ratio? Ideally, there would be one caregiver for one child but that is rarely the case for most preschools and daycares. Therefore, we have provided the perfect child-to-caregiver ratio for each age group in order for you to have an understanding of what a good answer would be when you ask about the ratio of staff to children.

staff to child ratio


staff to child ratio graph

Wisconsin state requirements are one childcare staff member per four newborn or infant children under 15 months old in daycare. The WI DHFS feels that one staff member should be able to coordinate feeding schedules, naps, diaper changes, and other basic newborn needs throughout the day without much help from additional staff members.

The WI DHFS recommends the same child-to-caregiver ratio for toddlers as it does for newborns and infants. There should be one staff member assigned to every group of six to eight toddlers. A toddler is a child between 18 months and 30 months old. The caregiver will need to be able to help children to go to the bathroom, prepare snacks and meals, coordinate naps, and schedule one or two activities throughout the day to stimulate the children.

Children ages 4+ in preschool only need one child caregiver per every 18 children/students. This is because there is the expectation that a 4-year-old child will be better behaved than a toddler or an infant. The expectation is that 4 year olds and older children will listen to directions, be respectful to the teacher and other students, and be able to use the bathroom by themselves.

Therefore, it is the recommendation of Cornerstone Academy in Kenosha, WI that the daycare you choose offers similar child-to-caregiver ratios we have provided above that have been approved by the WI DHFS.

If the daycare you tour doesn’t staff enough caregivers to meet these recommendations, you should continue to interview and research other facilities near your home or job that would be better prepared to care for your child. It is important to always make sure childcare facilities provide the necessary amount of staff to foster growth and ensure safety and comfort for your children.

To learn about the child-to-caregiver ratio at Cornerstone Academy and our current enrollment opportunities, contact us online or call (262) 552-5368.

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