When children learn in small-class settings, they tend to reach higher levels of achievement and develop strong social connections with their fellow students. While the average class size in schools across the country is 26.2 students, research indicates that children learn best when that number is 20 or fewer.
This is why Breakaway Academy emphasizes small class sizes, allowing for one-on-one interaction between students and their teachers. This leads to an environment in which educators can teach their students first—with a high-quality curriculum being a close second.
Small class sizes offer a range of benefits to children, and perhaps the most important is accelerated academic achievement. Although achievement is often also influenced by other factors, such as the experience of teachers and the value of curriculum, studies have shown that decreasing the number of students in a classroom can drastically improve achievement, starting from an early age.
One of the most notable studies was the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR), first conducted in the 1980s in Tennessee. Researchers compared student achievement in class sizes of 15 versus 22 students and found that those in the smaller classes achieved at rates that were the equivalent to three more months of schooling.
It’s easy to see why this would happen. With fewer students in the classroom, teachers can spend more time working each learner individually to address his or her academic needs and interests. Children also tend to build stronger relationships with their peers, feel more confident and learn important life lessons when engaged in a small-class environment.
Teachers, meanwhile, don’t have to worry about managing a large number of students in their classrooms, which improves morale and allows them to offer a more supportive and personalized learning environment. They can spend more time getting to know their students and how they learn best.
When we consider all the evidence, we can see that fewer students in a classroom goes beyond the quality of the curriculum (which is certainly important, as well). Small class sizes help teachers impart in their students a high standard of critical and creative thinking. These lessons can have a major impact on young people as they grow up and learn how to navigate life.
At Breakaway Academy, small class sizes allow students to connect with their teachers and engage in a truly supportive classroom environment. Quality time and positive connections help students harness their true passions and grow as young learners.
To that end, we are focused not only on the curriculum, but also on the small things that make an incredible difference for children in the long term. It’s at the core of our mission to meet the diverse learning needs of all our students and dedication to academic growth.