1St Grade Class Size Question

Updated on September 28, 2010
K.D. asks from Huntington Beach, CA
30 answers

Hi all moms out there.
I just had a quick question/poll. I am wondering how many kids are in your kids' 1st grade (or kinder or 2nd grade) classroom, if it's public or private, and what city??
Does anyone have any observations of the differences they've experienced with different sizes??? Any teacher opinions out there?? Any good links to effects of class size and student achievement?
I'm just wondering what's normal out there and concerned about CA school budget probs because there will be 33 kids in my son's 1st grade (no aide either, kinder had the same) !! We are actually in what's considered a pretty good district and now are actually thinking of switching to private. Thanks!!!
(I guess my ? wasn't that short after all)

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I don't think 33 is legal. My daughter is 17 now and the limit was 20 kids in first grade. I thought i read it was 24. Are they planning on splitting it when school starts?

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answers from Los Angeles on

My oldest had 11 in his kinder, 20 in 1st and 2nd.

now w/ the budget cuts, my next child had 30ish in kinder, and I have no idea what is going to happen for 1st. I assume it'll be the same.

Public schools. I think the schools in poorer districts are able to keep 20:1 because they get federal $. My SIL had 18 kids last yr, and should this yr too, because she has many ESL kids. So, the more affluent the neighborhood, fewer teachers. And aids are a thing of the past. Volunteer in the classroom. It makes a big difference.



answers from Kansas City on

this used to be normal and teachers use to be able to handle a classroom full of kids with out a teachers aide. I don't understand why teachers nowdays need aides and smaller class sizes. I wouldn't worry about a large classroom.


this used to be normal and teachers use to be able to handle a classroom full of kids with out a teachers aide. I don't understand why teachers nowdays need aides and smaller class sizes. I wouldn't worry about a large classroom.

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answers from Los Angeles on

CA's new max for k-2 is 24. I work for LAUSD and my K class will have 23 this year.

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answers from New York on

private kindergarten was 16 per class. it will be the same for 1st grade. publi kindergarten had 24 kids per class. more in first grade.



answers from Orlando on

I live in FL (Seminole County) - K - 2nd grade is 18 per class, 3rd-5th is 22. Oh, that is public school.



answers from Eugene on

1st grade was 21. Four 1st grade teachers
same school
2nd was 31. Three 2nd grade teachers
They cut a teacher and the class # grew too.

Our schools try to keep the numbers down k-3. With cuts they weren't able to do that for our 2nd graders.

With kids being pulled out of the room for english learner, special reading programs, parent helpers, etc, it helped the size regularly. I spent an hour a week in the room. Some kids were at lost, because they couldn't keep with the directions the teacher was giving. She couldn't stop to give them the attention needed. The average and bright kids weren't having a problem with the larger size.



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, 33 students is very large with no aide. I am really unhappy with the class size in California. There have been so many layoffs at the schools. Schools are also trying to attract more students to get more money. It is really hard to watch the quality of education further decline.

We will probably end-up going private because of the budget problems.



answers from Seattle on

When *I* was in school, the average elementary class size was 36. Good schools. Public. Middle and high schools we ran 40-50. We were something of BabyBoomx2 years however... meaning everyone was complaining that our class size (and the 3-4 years following us) were double the size of the previous 10 years. Always made me wonder what was in the water in the 70's that spurred on soooo many kids being born.

When my son was in (public) K the class size was 23 (but never more than 18 were in class at the same time, since kids were always sick).

The first grade class size (same school... but we'd pulled him by then) was almost double at 41.

((Oh HEY! You're in Huntington! I went to 3rd & 4th there! Can't remember the name of the school... Goldenview maybe? What I remember most was the 2 acre "S.E.L.F." which was a large, fenced "natural area/ petting zoo" with sheep, chickens, rabbits, etc.))



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son had 22 kids in his first grade class at out public elem. school in PA. They had 8 first grade classes all around that size.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My son goes to public school and we are in Oklahoma City. Kinder there were 22 but the class had a full-time teachers aide assisting the teacher. In 1st had 28 in his class, there were 3 first grade classes with about that amount. Within a week they hired a 4th first grade teacher and took the class size down to 20-21 each. In 2nd grade had 19, in 3rd grade had 20.



answers from Chicago on

my older kids went to private catholic school. there were between 28 and 32 kids per classroom. youngest went to public school. there was 22 kids in classroom. it may be more now though with all the budget cuts we have had in our city. huge amount of teachers laid off in the oswego illinois district 308



answers from Lawton on

K. D.,
I am a first grade teacher in the state of Oklahoma. I am National Board Certified in Early Childhood which covers ages 4-8. If my first grade child were in a class with 33 children I would strongly consider moving he or she. As a first grade teacher it is very difficult to meet the needs of all students beyond the 21-22 students per class. First grade is filled with so many new concepts which are imperative for students to learn. Reading being the #1 concern.
If you decide to leave your child in his or her class, be sure you are reading with he or she every night to reinforce what the teacher may or may not have time to reinforce.
Hope this helps!

Oklahoma NBCT



answers from San Antonio on

My son's kinder has 22, public school.

I taught high school and had a class period of 31 and it was barely manageable with that many bodies in one room.. I didn't even have enough chairs for all the kids.

I have a very hard time envisioning 33, 6 and 7 year old in one room with one teacher.



answers from Chicago on

Class size is one of the biggest determinates of outcome. Can't give you the studies off hand, but when I taught every single "best methods" study always started with a blurb on "class size."

33 is way too many. If you can afford it, switch to a private school. Young children do their best when they can learn via dialogue. You can't dialogue with that many kids in the room.

Optimally, I wouldn't put my 1st grader in a class with more than 20 kids THE MOST. Ideally, 15 but budgets are tight right now. I live in a really good district and I think they allow 24. I'm planning on home schooling till they are older...maybe 8, maybe 12, maybe 16. We will see how it goes.


answers from Austin on

My son is in public school in TX. For K through 2nd, there's been between 18 and 23 kids per class. He is always put in the class that has an aide.



answers from San Francisco on

I'm a teacher in Palo Alto, CA, an excellent school district. In our district we've been at max 20 for K-3 due to state class size reduction for many, many years. Our district also has had funding from a parcel tax for the past 5 years (and just renewed, thankfully) to keep classes low (about 20-22) in 4-6 also, which is rare and so so nice. However, with budgets tight these days, we are moving to 22ish in K-3 and 24ish in 4-5 (not sure what it is in the middle school). At my school the kinder teachers have a 3-hour aide/day and the grades 1-5 teachers have a 1-hour aide/day.

Class size greatly impacts the teacher's ability to meet the needs of every student. When I first started teaching 17 years ago, I had 30+ kids in my class. When we moved to 20, it was heavenly. I feel like I know my students better, I know the parents better, and I can move around the classroom and get to the kids more easily. I did it with 30+ but it was much harder. With 20 I have more time and energy to devote to all of the kids. Those who need special attention are more likely to get it when there are fewer demands on my time. Another thing to consider is the sheer volume and the number of bodies within the physical space of a classroom. I know that my daughter, who is going to start kindergarten this month, is somewhat shy and she would probably tend to slip through the cracks in a class of 33. Good luck with your decision.



answers from Kansas City on

Our son (now 20 years old) was in a public system from K-5th grade. He never had more than 18 in his class.
BUT after other issues and because of a move we had decided to put the kids in a private school, they (the public) school started sending home letters about how they had been so lucky to have the smaller class sizes but that soon would be changing. We kept in touch with former neighbors for a few years and I guess they went up to 25-28 kids per class.

Once moved to the private school, or son was in 6th grade and our daughter was isn 1st, we've had no more than 17-18 per classroom. The GRADE has 50 kids on average.

I am not a teacher but could argue the point that they used to have that many kids and we don't understand how they can't handle that many now. Cheryl T, kind of hit on a couple of points in her reply. Just getting to know the kids/parents would be a huge plus! *Even with the small class sizes in the public system, our son needed a little extra help with organization. Nothing major, just something as simple as taping a folder to the side of his desk to slide his work into so it didn't get lost. His teacher couldn't seem to pull it together even with a small class, I can't imagine how she could have handled 25-30 kids! Where our daughter is very organized and focused but the smaller class sizes allow her to blossom to her fullest potential!
I would imagine too, in today's world where every other kid is diagnosed with something AND teachers have so many more pressures of test scores/IEP's/504plans etc, a larger class takes away from truly 'teaching.'

I completely realize that not every can, nor would want to put their kids in a private school especially if they are in a great district. *We are in one of the best districts in Kansas! But it has been one of the best decisions we've made as parents and wish we would have done it sooner so our son could have had the foundation our daughter did.

Good Luck.



answers from Honolulu on

You can always, contact your local school District office.... or district rep for the DOE (dept of Education) in your area.... many will also have their own website. And check on class size limits etc.

yes, it has to do with the sheer volume of age entering kids, per district for public schools and Teachers available/budget per school etc.

Yes, 33 kids in one class, is a LOT. Plus with no Aide. Some schools, have part-time teachers/Aides etc., which can help... but not that they are available for EACH class or school.
In some classes, there are "Room Moms" which are a help to the Teacher... organizing class events/the Teacher etc., on the sidelines. Or some Teacher's have interns, in class. Each of these varieties of an 'extra body' in the classroom, can help. IF the school has these things on board... as a routine.

What I have also observed, is because of the economy and people without jobs or stable incomes, they are pulling their kids out of private schools and putting them into public schools... thus, also, the ballooning of increased enrollment at public schools. Which, the schools, are not able to accommodate ALL of these ramifications... of the economy... although they try their best. It is not an easy job...
Also... many younger families with kids, tend to flock to certain districts/towns... thus, burdening the public schools with MORE kids being enrolled... thus, stressing the system/school even more.

When my daughter was in Kinder and 1st grade and 2nd grade, the average class size of her classes, were about 23. BUT, during the year, there would also be an influx of new kids, from outside the district who moved in. So, although a smaller class size is IDEAL.. it is not always possible....

all the best,



answers from Hartford on

33 kids in a first grade class?!! I know budgets are being cut everywhere, but that's crazy. I'm a teacher and our first grade classrooms are small in size- I think 15 kids tops. First grade is the year that kids really become readers and small class size is important. With 33 kids that teacher will spend all his/her time trying to keep the kids in line, they won't have time to teach!



answers from Boston on

That sounds crazy to me. My daughter's kinder will have 21, I think. I teach high school and we don't have that many students. There is a proven correlation between smaller class size and student achievement and if you can get smaller by switching to private, I would. Good luck.



answers from Tallahassee on

Public school, 19 in Kindergarten, not sure yet for this year but probably about the same. 33 is a LOT with no aide.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter will be attending public school this year (first grade) and her class size will be 29. We are concerned as well since she attended a private kindergarten and the class size was 14.



answers from Hartford on

My son had 21 kids in his 1st grade class, with 2 full time aides. 2nd grade was 23 and 2 part time aides.



answers from Los Angeles on

Call your home school and ask the secretaries how many students are assigned to each class, then a few days before school starts meet the teachers as they set up classrooms. If you don't like your child's assigned teacher, request a change, they will usually accommodate parents who take the time to care like you. (Personally, as an educator, I'd get my kid in with the youngest freshest teacher, teaching is a burn out job, teachers who are going on 30 years are mostly burned out.) Your answers are a phone call away.

Good luck,



answers from New York on

When I was in Catholic school there was 22-25 kids in class each year from 1-8th grade. In HS there was 30-35 per class and one nun and those were the classes I learned the most from.
My kids elementary public school classes ranged from 12 in a class one year to as many as 25 in a class depending on the grade. Their JHS has approximately 28-30 kids in each class and the teachers don't take any garbage from any kid! In switched them from a private school that had kindergarten of 22 but by 4th grade had 11. The 4th grade and 5th grade teachers in that school couldn't control those small classes---the kids were sooooo bad! It depends on the teacher's ability to control the class---my opinion.



answers from Washington DC on

I am in Northern VA (Fairfax County) and my son's 1st grade class was 28 and as yet I do not know what size his 2nd grade will be , but I am led to believe it will be around the same size , and if they go over by too many they make another class and split the total kids in half.



answers from Madison on

My daughter will be in first grade this fall. She goes to a small private school and they have a max of 25 kids in the class.

The public schools in Madison, WI where I live have 15 kids per class for Kindergarten through 2nd grade,I think, under a program called SAGE.



answers from New York on

My son had 21 kids in public school, NYC, for 1st grade his friend in Catholic school also 1st grade was 38, no assist teach just the one. My GF said her daughter didn't learn enough or was challeneged enough because of the amount of kids.



answers from Augusta on

My kids have had 20 kids in their class every year since kindergarten.
That's here in Georgia public schools.

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