Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Having taught in many different learning environments over the past fifteen years or so, I know class size is an essential element to any young child’s growing ability to learn. Class sizes need to be small enough that teachers can do more than a quick check-in each morning. Teachers need to build strong relationships with their students so that they can deeply understand the social-emotional and academic needs of each child. I also believe that most teachers want to focus on prevention rather than intervention, but often when there are too many students in our classes, we are simply not able to see the little problems until they become bigger issues. Sometimes when class sizes are too big, teachers have no choice but to triage and this is when some students, in particular those who appear to be doing ok, are left with unmet needs and fail to thrive.
Our school is committed to having a maximum class size of 16. Our independent school is a small, not-for-profit alternative program that some students need in order to move from merely surviving school to thriving in school. Maintaining an appropriate class size is not easy to do from a financial perspective, but we have dedicated educators standing by who are willing to take a small reduction in pay to make this happen. I will also be volunteering my time and expertise as principal for as long as it takes to ensure our students come first.
We know that our tuition is a barrier for some and that many of the parents of children attending our school will have to make sacrifices in their own lives in order to prioritize their child’s mental health and education. Our commitment is to honour that sacrifice and willingness of parents. We truly believe that this shared sacrifice, dedication and care by the entire school community will make all the difference to our students, the Changemakers of tomorrow.