Why Small Classes?
Why Small Classes?
Class size matters. So does high-quality teaching grounded in research-based pedagogy.
“As class size decreases, achievement increases.
The more years spent in reduced classes, the longer lasting the benefits.”
—Center for Public Education
Recent news about the possible removal of class size caps in kindergarten and primary classes has been top of mind when prospective parents call us to learn more about Linden’s Early Learning Program. “While class size has always been a driving force behind parents looking for public school alternatives,” says Linden Principal Janice Gladstone, “smaller classes alone aren’t the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing a school like Linden, where the main draw also tends to be our feminist pedagogy and high-quality teachers.”
Early program teacher Savannah Barker agrees. “It’s thanks to Linden’s girl-centred program that our classes are kept intentionally small. Having a class of 10 allows me time and space to differentiate our program to each learner’s needs while identifying gaps and areas of growth. In larger classes things often get missed; in smaller settings, we can catch any academic or social issues fairly quickly.”
Linden often attracts public school students who find themselves unsupported, or bored and unchallenged when their teachers simply don’t have enough time to devote to their needs. “Let’s not forget that removing boys from the equation is key to student success in an all-girls environment,” says Janice, “as boys can demand all of the teacher’s attention, leaving girls to grapple with their lessons on their own, or fall through the cracks.”
“Such a sink or swim scenario simply doesn’t happen at Linden,” says Savannah. “Given Linden’s small classes, we are able to achieve great results within a very short time. Kindergarten students who are not yet reading or writing when they begin at Linden quickly become confident and capable in these areas as they are immersed in a literacy-rich environment. Small class settings allow girls to overcome their shyness, and speak more often and whenever they wish to, rather than waiting for their turn to speak in a room of 20 or 30 students. Teachers can also take the time to explain lessons, hear student perspectives, questions, and misconceptions, and shape their learning in a way that sparks student interest and invites further exploration,” she adds.
Linden parents Brian Klunder and Melanie Hickey (who is also a former Linden student) share this perspective. “We see the benefits of Linden's kindergarten program with its small class size on a daily basis. Thanks to the individualized attention she receives, our 5-year-old is making significant strides with her reading and writing, has the opportunity to do multifaceted science and art projects, interacts well with her classmates, and most importantly, loves school.”
We invite you to explore the top 10 ways girls benefit from Linden’s small classes:
More teacher attention
Teachers have more time to respond to students, allowing them to ask questions, satisfy their intellectual curiosity, and delve deeper into their lessons to absorb the subject matter.
More differentiated teaching
Smaller classes allow faculty to really get to know each student’s strengths and gaps. One-on-one attention boosts their academic progress throughout the year.
More curriculum covered
With fewer students, we can cover more areas of our curriculum within a week than we could if we had a class of 20 or 30 students, allowing us to deliver a far more enriched program.
More teaching excellence
In addition to core classroom teachers, early learners also have the advantage of being taught by specialists in STEM, art, music, physical, and health education. All Linden teachers also have expertise in girl-centred pedagogy.
More teacher feedback
Students receive prompt feedback from their teachers, who have more time to prepare in-depth assessments based on careful observations that are highly useful to students and their parents.
More confidence and leadership
Our girls thrive in smaller environments, confidently asking questions and leading conversations and activities of their choice.
More dependable relationships
As experts in girl-centred teaching, we know that relationships really matter to girls. At Linden, girls have access to powerful and dependable relationships with faculty who are there to guide them on how to advocate for themselves and develop resilience within classroom settings.
More social skills
Smaller classes allow us to identify social problems early on, and strategize on developing problem-solving skills. We help girls foster kindness, compassion, and open communication; Linden girls often make friends for life.
More participation in school-wide events
Given Linden’s small size, leadership opportunities abound. All students collaborate together in school-wide activities and participate in events such as our STEM fair.
More sense of community
All students get to know each other across all grade levels, leading to wonderful mentorship opportunities and exchanges between older and younger students.