In choosing a school, most families feel initially quite nervous at the new faces, the varied routines and the many rooms and buildings their child will need to become familiar with. This process is softened by our homely campus and smaller class sizes.
In fact, the entire community at Riverside remains quite connected, as most people know every staff member’s and student’s name. We call is the “Small School, Big Family Advantage”.
The advantage is felt not only in classes, where the maximum enrolment is capped at 25 students per room, but in a total school population of less than 100 students. As a result, students of all ages are friends, know each others’ names and play together during breaks. Families are familiar with one another too. While daily picking students up and at special school functions we become a big, Riverside ‘family’.
Research, both in Australia and abroad, supports the idea that smaller schools have many advantages, for learning and for personal growth. Schools are no longer merely places of education and academic pursuit. Schools, in support of the home, are now significant contributors to a child’s sense of purpose, wellbeing, security and social resilience.
The conclusions of research on small schools and small classes in the larger community are not directly relevant to Adventist schools, as their definition of small schools would include even the largest Adventist schools, and their definition of small classes would include the vast majority of classes in Adventist schools. However, research results in all three types of studies are consistent with the findings of the CognitiveGenesis analysis, showing that multigrade classes, small classes, and small schools are equal to or superior in achievement to single-grade classes, large classes, and large schools.
[Updating – More research to follow]