Although “big” and “little” are relative terms, the size of a school can make all the difference in your child’s learning process and overall academic success. Small private schools are generally defined as an attendance of less than 500 although some schools can range even smaller. These schools may not be best for every student, but new research reveals definite benefits behind “small schools” that shouldn’t be ignored.
Something vitally important is lost in the hustle and bustle of large schools. Packed classrooms and chaotic hallways eliminate much of the unique individuality each student possess. It is easy to feel “lost in the crowd.” Small schools are famous for encouraging greater expressions of individual personality. Students in smaller schools are usually more apt to express themselves and cherish their identities without being stifled by the crowd. This trend is also revealed in the classroom where teachers of smaller schools encourage greater student participation to counteract the conformity present in large, “crowd-control” situations.
Every student experiences learning challenges of some type at some point in their education. We each have our own unique learning style and method that works best for us. When this isn’t honored, educational struggles exist. Larger schools due to size and time restraints are not as apt to promote unique learning style methods. In contrast to this, smaller schools have greater availability to experiment and implement learning methods that cater to the educational individuality of students. All three learning style– visual, auditory, and kinesthetic– are brought into play to enhance the entire learning experience for each student. Various studies reveal that smaller schools are notorious for high grades and overall achievement rates. This is due in part to the healthy competition present within smaller classrooms. Also, smaller student numbers allow teachers a better vantage point of which students require assistance before grades drop excessively.
The School Climate
Every school is unique with varying levels of emotion, acceptance, and diversity. When factors such as these are unbalanced or neglected, distinct stressors develop within the school’s climate. Students feel these stressors very keenly and often far before school faculty senses them. Bullying, cliques, and unfair treatment can develop very quickly if not quickly discovered and dealt with. Do to their smaller size, smaller schools are generally very skilled at quickly senses schisms within the school climate. Secrets cannot remained buried for long. Once discovered, school administration can then go on to form practical game-plans to eliminate issues and prevent future repeats.
With larger schools, teacher burn-out is far more prevalent largely due to the exhaustion of handling such high numbers of students on a daily basis. On average, approximately 4 out of 10 new teachers quit within a year of starting. There are many factors, but overwhelming attendance numbers definitely plays a role in the mass exodus of teachers leaving their professions. Teachers often do not feel they can truly get to know their students as well as they desire. As a result, they feel they are not making as a great an impact as they wish. Smaller schools have the added incentive of higher teacher satisfaction. A small number of students allows these teachers to involve themselves far deeper in their students’ lives, increasing their positive influence and impact. Genuinely healthy relationships are possible for teachers and students alike. When teachers feel greater satisfaction with their work, this attitude easily overflows into the classroom and lesson material. Students can sense which teachers are fulfilled and happy and which are not.
Although gifted students emerge from all types of educational environments, smaller schools as a whole have led the way on the path of educational achievement. Examining each child’s individual needs and dreams is instrumental in determining whether they would thrive in a “big” school or “small” school environment. For more information on educational excellence and environment, please contact us today.