Most people probably don’t associate the words ‘school’ and ‘family’ with one another, and that’s usually because schools and classrooms are large in population. It’s hard to feel at home in a classroom with 28 other students or on a campus with hundreds or thousands of other people walking around.
One of the benefits of smaller student populations is that there is typically a larger sense of community. Most students know each other’s names, are familiar with their families, and are well-known by the teachers. Let’s look at some of the other benefits that come with attending a school with a smaller student population.
When School Feels Like a Family…
1. TRUST IS BUILT.
Because the students are well-known to and by their teachers, there is a trust that can take root. Instead of just being a number or a face in a seat, each student is seen and heard by the staff, and this can help form a more personal knowledge of each student’s individual situation. Teachers and administration then have a deeper insight and understanding into what may be causing any learning or social issues that arise. This street goes two ways, however, because when a student feels valued and understood, they are more likely to reach out for help and to improve in their studies as they know they can trust the adults in their school. Teachers and staff become much more than employees of a school; they become mentors and life coaches to the next generation.
2. TEACHERS CAN TEACH.
Instead of spending large amounts of time getting a group of thirty 6th graders to calm down, teachers in smaller schools can focus less on classroom management and more on teaching the material. They are also able to see and address problems quickly, give extra time to the students who need it, and provide more challenges for the students who excel. Teachers of smaller class sizes have more time to get to know the students, their families, and their home life situations, which all work together in making learning a positive experience for everyone.
3. THERE IS FREEDOM.
There is more freedom all around when you have a smaller class size. Some examples are the freedom to try different teaching styles, different lesson plans and projects, and different field trips. More tailored learning is possible with a smaller group of people. There is also a freedom created for the students. They have more opportunity to participate, to be creative, and to share their opinions and ideas. Everyone’s voice has a place, as opposed to only the loudest or most persistent voices being heard.
Ultimately, there is a sense of belonging and safety in smaller student populations. There are less places for problems to hide and more opportunities for students to shine. There is a care and compassion between the staff and students that brings about a sense of community and family. When considering whether or not a smaller school is right for your family, make sure to consider all points and perspectives. The benefits are numerous and the experience will be one that will impact the child for the rest of their life.