At the Toddler level, the class size is typically ten to twelve children. At the Primary level and up, the class size is twenty-five to thirty children representing a three-year age span. All classes are taught by a certified teacher and an assistant.
Parents often wonder if it would not be better to organize classes into smaller groups, but there is actually a great deal of research, thought, and successful experience behind this particular model. The key is to remember that the teacher is neither the center of attention nor the sole source of instruction. The children are learning on their own by independent discovery and from each other, as well, as through lessons presented by the teacher, and through the specially designed materials.
This approach allows the children to explore and learn independently as much as possible. The stimulation of older children and the encouragement of their peers fuels this process. All too often the best teacher of a four-year-old is an older child rather than an adult. Children learn best from one another. We create classes of twenty-five to thirty-five to ensure that each child will have enough classmates of the same sex and age group, as well as the stimulation of the older children.
A Three-Year Age Span
Above the Toddler level, Brilliant Star classes are organized to encompass a three year age span, which allows younger students to experience the daily stimulation of older role models, who in turn blossom in the responsibilities of leadership. Students not only learn “with” each other, but “from” each other.
Some parents worry that having younger children in the same class as older ones will leave one group or the other short changed. They fear that the younger children will absorb the teachers’ time and attention, or that the importance of covering the “kindergarten” curriculum for the five-year-olds will prevent teachers from giving the three and four-year-olds the emotional support and stimulation that they need. Both concerns are understandable, and easily addressed.
Working in one class for two or three years allows students to develop a strong sense of community with their classmates and teachers. The age range also allows accelerated learners the stimulation of intellectual peers, without requiring that they skip a grade and feel emotionally out of place.
Each class is an essentially stable community, with only the older third moving on to the next level each year. At each level within Brilliant Star, the curriculum and methods are logical and consistent extensions of what has come before.