CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas Senate Bill 2081 has become a law now that it has passed, limiting pre-K class sizes to 22 students in public schools.
Mariah Garza works at My Preschool and Child Development Center-South in Corpus Christi as a pre-k teacher.
She said having an average class size of about 11 students is advantageous to students because she gets more one-on-one interaction with them.
“I just love getting to know the kids, their personalities, just knowing them individually as well,” Garza said.
She said she is able to keep an eye on not just students’ behavior, but their academic and social progress as well. It’s one of the things she likes about working at My Preschool and Child Development Center-South.
“I can also see who’s struggling and who I need to work with one on one more since I can have my eyes on everybody since there’s not so many children,” she said.
Erica Carreron, the director of the center, said her favorite part about working there is getting to see her students grow, not just academically, but emotionally as well. She also said having a smaller class size is beneficial to students because she’s able to problem-solve with them.
“They also react to each other so if another child sees another child learning they’re going to want to do the same thing. It’s a chain reaction,” Carreron said.
Tom McGhee is one of the parents whose child goes to the center and he said his child likes the smaller class size because she gets to interact with her classmates easier.
“One kid to the next, it’s a little easier for them to focus on each other than have a huge class around them,” McGhee said.
According to childcare.gov, preschool classrooms shouldn’t have more than 20 students in a class.
Dr. Amy Mintz, a child development professor at Del Mar College said students learn better in a classroom with a smaller amount of students because they could learn bad behaviors from other students if their class was bigger.
“It also gives the opportunity to see behaviors that another child might be doing that may influence my behavior such as aggressive behaviors,” Dr. Mintz said.
When it comes to other states, the California Teachers Association recommends limiting pre-K classes to 25 students.
Nancy Vera, the president of the Corpus Christi chapter of the American Federation of Teachers said she agrees with the law and said it should be extended to all grade levels, even though the law applies to grades K through 4. When it comes to the school’s budget, Vera said the new law should not affect it too much.
“In pre-K it’s ultimately important because that’s when we’re shaping their behavior, that’s when we’re shaping their values,” Vera said.