Class Size--how important is it?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Meximeli, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member

    Among the things you look for when choosing a school, where would you rank class size?
  2. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Honestly, I guess it's a factor, but we didn't even look at it when we moved. We looked at the overall school district. We looked at test scores. We knew they were building new schools to handle the growing community so class sizes would be changing. We talked to other parents. I found out tonight that they'll be in a class of 21. To me that seems small. When I was in elementary school, I remember a class size of 32ish.

  3. jxnsmama

    jxnsmama Well-Known Member

    For me, it is irrelevant. My kids' classes range from 25-30, but it's an awesome school, and class size wouldn't change my mind about it.
  4. Sue1968

    Sue1968 Well-Known Member

    I think that class size is extremely important. Students in smaller classes get a lot more individual attention and guidance. That being said, I don't think there is much that I, personally, can do about my children's class size. Unless I want to pay for some very expensive private schooling, it is what it is. Their kindergarten class will be about 25 kids. There is a teacher plus an aid so that's not too bad. Like Marissa, I remember my elementary classes being 30+ kids.
  5. Sandsam

    Sandsam Well-Known Member

    I think class size is very important. Our class sizes jumped from the upper 20s to 38 due to budget cuts. I have noticed the impact - parent/teacher conferences are only 10 minutes, the number of book reports dropped from 8 to 3, I don't see corrected papers, the kids correct alot of their own work, my dd seems to get lost in alot of the classes, homework is very minimal as are tests. Had I known what our district was going to do with class size, I would NEVER have moved into it!!
  6. Becca34

    Becca34 Well-Known Member

    I think it's very important. Nadia's school caps each kindergarten classroom at 18 kids, and has a lead teacher plus an assistant teacher. I'm pretty happy with that size.
  7. Haley'sHope

    Haley'sHope Well-Known Member

    i think it's a factor but is lower on my list than a lot of other things, like curriculum, environment, education level of the teachers, etc. our twins go to a small private episcopalian school and there are only 36 kids in the entire 2nd grade. one of the twins has 11 kids in his class and the other has 12 in his class. last year they each had 14 kids in their classes. if anything i think that their classes are too small to promote diversity and if the school went past 5th grade i would switch them to somewhere with slightly larger classes (i think 16 or so is a good number). since their school only goes to 5th grade it is not such a big deal because they will be going to a different school anyways.
  8. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses.

    I'm thinking ahead for next year, because here K is not part of primary school. Right now they are in a private school and their class is very small, about 12. The whole school has less than 100 students starting from 18 months old. Dh and I have always intended to switch them to a public school for first grade, but I was shocked recently when I realized that will mean class sizes of 35 to 40 (IN FIRST GRADE!!!) now I'm questioning that decision. The educational background of the teachers would be the same or actually better in the public schools, the curriculum is federally mandated so will be essentially the same. The major differences will be 1) class size. 2)quality of facilities. 3)background of student population.
    I perfer the class size that private school would offer us, under 20. We have a nice computer and educational games at home, so facilities are near the bottom of my list. As for the background of the students, I'd perfer they be in a public school, which will be more diverse, and frankly the upper class of our town are mostly unsupportable snobs and I'd prefer not the have that be their friend base.
    So at first I was all for the public school option, but when I found out the class size that sent me realing. I went to a very small public school myself, and had about 20 kids in my class from k to 6. I've also read a lot of educational philosopy and tend to buy into small class sizes as being important.
  9. Jennie-OH

    Jennie-OH Well-Known Member

    It's pretty high on my list but probably ranks below curriculum and teacher experience. We are throwing around the idea of using the private kindergarten classes offered by our daycare/pre-school facility. They follow or exceed the public Kindy curriculum so that's a wash. The staff has so far been excellent but I know some of the public teachers and they are wonderful Kindy teachers too. So that's also a wash. Where I get hung up is the class size. I'm told the public school is around 25 while our private Kindy is about 16. Huge difference and I think 25 in Kindergarten classes is absurd.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. I'm finding this to be a pretty difficult decision so far.
  10. jamey

    jamey Well-Known Member

    I think from 12 to 40 is a pretty drastic jump. Is there an aide or equivalent in the public school? Is it possible you could shadow in the public school for a day, and see how class time is managed? I would think if class-time was managed appropriately, it might be doable.

    That's a lot of kids, though!
  11. mommyto3girls

    mommyto3girls Well-Known Member

    Class size is important to me, but there is not much I can do about it. The class sizes at our school have been very good. We went to the open house last night to meet the teachers and all three of my girls have 16 in their classes.
  12. Julie L

    Julie L Well-Known Member

    35 to 40 kids is way too many for a first grade classroom! Around here it's typically high teens to low 20s. Classes tend to get bigger as the kids get older.

    The district I work in actually has a policy that adds an assistant to a classroom that has over 25 students. They did that a few years ago when there was absolutely no room to create another class.

    Class size correlates to how well a teacher can get to know a child, how small of groups they can have during reading/how many small groups - the more small groups, the less often they can meet.

    Here's an article that discusses studies that have been done on the correlation between class size and achievement: Class size article
  13. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Overall, it is important, but down on my list of most important. They boys have 20-23 in each 2nd grade in their school. It will go up to around 25 for 5th grade (they will go from 6 classes to 5 in prep for Middle School). Yes, a smaller class size does allow for more individual attention, BUT laws in many states require Paraprofessionals if the class size gets beyond around 24 for early elementary school.
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