The Wellington Hall Academy grade 7-8 class was clowning around. And their teacher loved it. The students had just completed a 4-week unit on clowning with their drama teacher, Rachel Beales, and they were presenting the clown personas they each had created – mannerisms, voices, costumes – in front of the class. Although plenty of nerves were in evidence, the students still felt comfortable taking the risk of being open in their creativity because they feel safe in this familiar homeroom class of 13 kids.
At Wellington Hall Academy in Guelph, we know that a smaller school and smaller classes can create big opportunity. Class sizes for grade 1-8 students are capped at 16 students, and preschool/kindergarten classes max out at 12. Consider the advantages this gives our students:
- Our environment is conducive to learning – quiet, calm, and not overwhelming.
- Teachers can give each student the personal attention they need; they have time to answer each child’s questions and to notice when a student needs extra help.
- We can meet each student at their unique starting points – a student might be reading above their grade level but doing math below, and our teachers have the time and resources to accommodate that.
- There are no cracks to fall through. Every Wellington Hall teacher knows every Wellington Hall student. We have a great team who care about every student.
- Teachers meet with each student on a regular basis for personal goal-setting, feedback, and self-assessment.
- With fewer students, every student has more opportunity – to participate in class, to be involved in performances, to lead class discussions, and to be a class or school leader.
- Interacting closely with a diverse group of peers on a daily basis accelerates the learning of interpersonal skills and emotional growth.
- Greater interaction of different age groups provides mentoring and role models for our younger children and leadership opportunities for our older students.
- The tight-knit, family-like feeling that develops allows kids to open up more and take risks, in a safe and supportive environment where it’s okay to fail.