To teach their children the necessary skills for an ever-changing world, many parents are choosing private school education. With options ranging from boarding schools to alternative schools to preschools, there is almost certainly a school to suit each and every child.
Enriched Academic Opportunities
One of the accepted benefits of private schools is that they provide exceptional and challenging educational experiences through extracurricular activities, Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate programme (and the IB diploma program), and gifted programs, just to name a few. “The IB programme focuses on school work and on developing you as a whole person,” explains Myriam Choma, a Grade 12 student at Ashbury College, “I didn’t find that in any of my other schools.” Private school students constantly score top marks on standardized tests and college entrance exams, and many schools have close to a 100 percent rate of students attending their university of choice.
A comprehensive study on class size made by educational researchers Bruce Biddler and David Berliner in 2002 showed that the smaller the class size, the better the average student performs on academic achievement tests. Eric Vosko reflects on his experience as a student at The Rosedale Day School, in Toronto, Ontario. “It was weird for me because the school was so small. It was the right decision for sure, it has been a great school.” And the gains from smaller class sizes are stronger the longer a child is exposed to them. Private schools vary greatly in size, but depending on their teaching style, almost all focus on the importance of small class sizes to individually help students’ weak areas and advance their strengths.
Private schools are built around open communication between parents and administration, and they make it a priority to involve parents in the community. From frequent parent-teacher meetings, social events such as parent breakfasts and family camping weekends, and the participation of parent committees in fundraising initiatives, families become an integral part of the child’s education. This common ground also helps strengthen parent-child relationships.
In a study completed by the Fraser Institute in 2007, 91 per cent of parents surveyed said the dedication of the teachers was their main reason for choosing private school. Instructors are both qualified and passionate about their subjects, often holding advanced degrees in their field. Within the tight-knit school community, students have close relationships with their teachers who commonly act as role models. “That involves most of my life,” says Blake Gage about teaching, coaching basketball and being a house parent to 50 boarders at Brentwood College School, in Mill Bay, British Columbia. In addition, small class sizes make staff members more readily available for extra help or to further challenge individual students.