I wanted to touch base on a controversial issue in the classroom which is class size. Many people have argued that it just simply doesn’t matter how big classes are in preschool up to 5th grade. To me I have always felt like class size does matter for both teacher and student. I have worked in many situations from public schools to child care settings that offer private preschool and I have found that if the class keeps growing it not only stresses out teacher but also the children. Plus most of your time is focused on managing the class not teaching the class. A story that I use for parents is one of my past experiences when talking about too many children in a classroom. I had planned a wonderful art/ science activity for preschoolers in making a heart and seeing how it pumps the blood through your body. When I started the activity I had 10 children which was doable for me but towards the middle my class grew to 15 children. During this time, kids kept squeezing on the table knocking off work and some were running around touching walls while I tried to control table chaos. I closed the activity without it being done and sent the children to centers so I could clean. Not only was I frustrated over all the events, some of the children that really wanted to see the activity through were in tears wanting to finish. It was a sad morning for the classroom…… I did finish it during nap time as promised then shown the children the heart in its glory. I felt like if my class didn’t continue to grow and upset the rest of my class then my 10 students could have stayed engaged and finished the project themselves, I felt like they could have gotten more out of it.
With this past experience in my head I set out to search the web for papers and studies to back up my feelings about small class size. I found a wonderful site (http://www.classsizematters.org/research-and-links/ ) that had lots of links to different findings about class size mattering to preschool and kindergarten classes. My favorite one was Does Class Size Matter? by Schanzenbach, D.W. (http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/207632499-Pb-Class-Size.pdf ) One thing in particular was how low income children excelled in smaller classes and some children followed up to 3rd grade had higher test scores in schools. It amazed me that this could be such a huge impact for children. Even though I knew the importance of this issue from my own personal accounts it still amazed me. I encourage everyone to look this research up and help the future classrooms stay in small ratio.
On a personal note I am super excited that our preschool offers lower class size as one of our many perks 🙂