Each fall I spend time in every classroom observing children and teachers to support goal setting for the upcoming school year. I am always impressed with how the small class size and low child/teacher ratio allows each child to be seen and valued. Teachers have the luxury of truly teaching and not just managing behavior. This is something that is foundational at LEAP because as a young teacher and student myself, I noticed that classrooms with a larger number of children had more aggression problems and the ones that were smaller in size supported a calmer environment for children to learn problem-solving and social skills. When I started LEAP this lesson was not forgotten when we established our programs.
It was important for me as an educator to want to overcome these challenges and I decided that in our program we would prioritize small class sizes, low teacher child ratios and maintain consistency in the classroom with very low to no turnover of the teachers during the school year. With the consistency of the same peer group and teacher for the year, children can take risks in their learning knowing this a safe place to explore and be themselves. Teachers can individualize their curriculum to meet the children where they are at developmentally and take them to the next level. With so few programs offering this opportunity it is my hope to share the benefits here, and hope that educators will reach out to me with questions. The benefits are astounding! I love all aspects of my role at the LEAP School, but being in the classroom is by far the best part of my day and it grounds me.
Robin Shapiro, MA is the founder of The LEAP Schools in the Boston Metro area. She has worked on all sides of the education spectrum—as a parent of two boys, a teacher, an administrator, and now as the founder of four growing preschools. From a very early age, Robin knew that education was the pathway to change and growth, and her passion for creating that experience for children and teachers has been a founding principle since 1985 when the LEAP Schools began. “No one is more proud of my directors and teachers than I am; their positive impact on children, parents, and each other is an inspiration for me!” Contact Robin at [email protected]