Small Preschool Classes: What are the Benefits?

Preschool is often a child’s first real experience with peer socialization, a fun, yet possibly overwhelming time. Research shows that smaller class sizes with a lower student/teacher ratio are better for young children because each student gets more individual attention. We feel that a smaller class size is a more comfortable transition from home to the elementary school years for most children. What are some of the benefits of a small preschool class size, and why is individual attention so important during the preschool years?

• Teachers are better able to identify a student’s strengths and areas where improvement is needed, so they can help address the needs of each individual in the class.

•  Smaller classes are usually less stressful, as fewer conflicts arise.

• Children in smaller classes tend to work well as a group and bond closely to one another, which makes for a secure environment.

• Smaller preschool classes are of benefit to a less-confident child who may get lost in the shuffle of a larger class.

• Children in small classes don’t get sick as often because there are fewer children spreading germs.

• Smaller class sizes offer more individual teacher/student interaction.

• Teachers who instruct fewer children can better-tailor lesson plans to meet the needs of the students and may even provide some individual lesson plans for students who are excelling or need more work in a particular area.

• Having fewer children in a classroom allows the teacher to better determine each individual student’s learning style.

• Smaller class size allows for more hands-on learning, as these activities require more attention from the teacher.

• Smaller classes offer deeper language development because the teacher can more closely monitor social interactions.

The National Institute for Early Education Research states that

When groups are smaller and staff-child ratios are higher, teachers provide more stimulating, responsive, warm, and supportive interactions. They also provide more individualized attention, engage in more dialogues with children, and spend less time managing children and more time in educational activities. Studies also provide evidence of a link between class size and overall quality of the classroom.

At Square Roots Preschool, we never have more than six students in a class, well below the minimum staff child ratio of 1:13 for three-year-olds and 1:15 for four-year-olds. We feel that our small class sizes not only offer educational benefits, but also a family-like, close-knit environment for our students.

More information on the benefits of smaller class sizes for preschoolers:

NIEER Preschool Policy Matters: Class Size: What’s the Best Fit? 

13 Indicators of Quality Child Care, Staff Child Ratio and Group Size Indicator

High-Quality Preschool: Why We Need it and What it Looks Like

How Important is a Daily Schedule?

ImageEarly childhood education with a foundation in play is successful because it allows children to think, grow, and create while exploring a teacher-chosen concept. A play-based preschool may sound unstructured. Play-based does not mean that we don’t have a daily schedule or lesson plan, and it doesn’t mean that the students are running wild, doing whatever they please. It does mean that our students learn through play, and though they have the freedom to play with materials as they wish, there is structure and purpose to our day with goals for learning. Our daily schedule provides predictability and structure for our students.