Published On: Tuesday, April 11, 2017|Categories: Learning Environment, Parents, Student Health, Tenney Subscribers|

One of the key obstacles many parents face when they enroll their child in a small school is the worry that their child will have difficulty making friends. Social growth is an important part of every child’s development. The transition to small schools intimidates many parents. What if their child doesn’t fit in? What if they struggle to find friends to spend time with? You want your child to be enrolled in a school where they have plenty of opportunities to make friends. In some cases, a small school can actually lead to more social opportunities, not less!

Small Schools Have Accepting Environments

In large schools, it’s easy for people to fall through the cracks. Everyone assumes that “someone else” will reach out to the new student, or the student that they know isn’t quite like them. In smaller schools, on the other hand, most people have a more accepting attitude and are willing to welcome other students into their social circles–even if those students aren’t exactly like them! In many cases, you’ll find that enrolling your child in a small school will make it easier for them to find people who are accepting of their particular quirks, not harder.

Smaller Groups Mean Closer Relationships

Students in large schools don’t have the chance to get to know their classmates well. Even if they stay with the same peer group long-term–students who participate in band or take part in sports, for example–they often find that it’s difficult to develop long-term, lasting relationships. When the year is over, the team changes, the club shifts, and classes change. In a large school, students who were friends one year might not have the chance to interact at all the next.

Not only that, small schools mean smaller clubs and teams, smaller classes, and more opportunity to get to know people. In a large group, it can be difficult to develop strong relationships with any of the members. Smaller groups mean deeper, more meaningful bonds that will last for years.

Defining a Vibrant Social Life

What does it mean to have a vibrant, active social life? Is it a child who is out with a different group of friends every weekend or who has constant opportunities, or is it one who is surrounded by close friends who care about them and look for opportunities for the entire group to get together? If you have a social butterfly who is constantly meeting new people or who is always at the center of a big group, a vibrant social life might look different from an introverted child who prefers quiet discussions with a couple of peers or who enjoys quiet weekends in. Whatever a vibrant social life looks like for your child, however, small schools have everything they’ll need to enjoy these social days.

Adult Oversight: The Game-Changer

For students who have been bullied in their previous schools, a smaller school setting offers one clear advantage: there’s greater adult oversight, which means that bullying is less likely to occur. It’s possible for teachers and faculty to moderate more of the interactions that each student has with their peers, keep an eye on how things are going, and move things in a safer direction before bullying can occur. Many students who have been bullied in the past will find small schools less overwhelming in spite of the array of new faces in front of them.

The transition to a small school may seem difficult at first, but over time, you’ll find that your child is able to thrive both socially and academically. If this is the type of setting you’re seeking for your child, contact us today to learn more about what our school can offer.

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