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What Are the Benefits of Small Classes?

Teacher quality, co-curricular activities, school culture, and many other factors can make for an excellent learning experience for a young child. Illinois is one of the few states that doesn’t legislate class size limits, although there are state recommendations that are typically respected in schools. Elementary class size tends to be lower; the numbers creep up as kids get older.

While the ideal size might vary class to class, kids should never feel lost in a crowd. Parents for Teachers, a watchdog parental group for Chicago Public School students, reported in 2019 that at the more crowded end, a number of the city’s elementary school classrooms had as many as 40 students. That’s a lot when classes of 30 students are considered too big by most standards.

Benefits of Smaller Classes

In the last year, we saw an unexpected benefit play out at many schools that stayed open. Being in appropriately sized spaces enabled schools like Saint Anne Parish School to safely distance students from one another – and provide protection for teachers and staff members, as well.

But you don’t need a pandemic to realize that a reduced class size often enables better overall student achievement, especially for younger and disadvantaged children. When classes get too big, some students end up fending for themselves. At Saint Anne, we want every student to feel supported and make sure that any child who has a question about an assignment can get the help and attention he or she needs.

From an instruction standpoint, when teachers aren’t managing a class of 30-plus students, they have the flexibility to use more tailored approaches based on their students’ unique needs. Manageable class sizes give teachers more time to teach because there are fewer assignments to correct, papers to hand out, and disciplinary problems in a given classroom. And less disruption means more time for instruction.  

With even a little extra attention per child and less competition all around, students may be more likely to get involved in activities and participate in class. The benefits can last for years, making students more likely to complete high school and attend college. 

Saint Anne Provides Room to Thrive

At Saint Anne, we believe in balancing reasonable enrollment fees with a rigorous academic program and a warm, welcoming environment. We partner with families, the church, and our local community so that every child has a chance to thrive, both in school and in life. We also believe in setting our instructors up to succeed. Teachers use supplementary materials to enhance their lessons and lead creative and enriching activities that work best for their students.

Our class sizes vary, with no more than 24 students per class. We don’t sacrifice a well-rounded education for high academic standards but believe there is room for both. Having manageable class sizes enables us to provide many additional services and opportunities for students. They are encouraged to take part in a wide range of age-appropriate activities of their choice, including:

  • Student leadership council
  • School band
  • Children’s choir
  • Speech contests
  • Intro to 3D printing and engineering
  • Culinary, fashion, and chess clubs
  • Running and ski clubs
  • STEM Robotics Academy 
  • Social Justice Committee

Other activities enrich them by teaching them to collaborate with and help one another, such as peer mediation and our buddy system that pairs younger and older students. They have opportunities to prepare and lead school masses and school prayer services. Unlike at bigger schools – or smaller schools with limited extracurriculars – there is less competition for access to just about any interest area that will help them flourish.

Technology Educational Opportunities

The student-to-teacher ratio at Saint Anne enables us to apply a strong technology foundation, as well. The rich technology learning experience we offer begins with the youngest students. As part of our STEM-driven math and science curriculum, all students get one-on-one access to digital tools and devices. During their time here, they will get plenty of individual attention in our Technology Lab and multi-media classrooms, where they will collaborate on enriching activities such as video production and editing.

What matters most is our student-centered, differentiated curriculum that allows students to receive individualized attention and opportunities to interact with their teachers. Whether in art, science, or the Writing Lab, we make it possible to offer academic opportunities that engage students at the level that is best for them.

Discover more about the optimal learning environment we provide at Saint Anne Parish School by contacting us today.