Why Private School

A comprehensive look at private schools and why they might be right for your child. Explore the history of private school education, weigh the pros and cons of public vs. private school, and get valuable advice on making the best choice for your child. Learn more about the various types of private schools from military to progressive and review directories from a variety of resources including private school associations and offline publications.
View the most popular articles in Why Private School:
Schools with Non-traditional Approaches
Categorizing schools is not a neat process. But there are several educational approaches and philosophies offer some alternatives to traditional schools. Here are some pros and cons about alternative schools.
Are you thinking about something other than the usual public school experience for your toddler or primary school age child? Exactly what kind of alternatives do you have anyway? And how expensive are they? Let's take a look at each of these questions and offer some answers.

Montessori
Maria Montessori started the movement which bears her name by tackling Rome's poorest, most disadvantaged children. Her original Casa de Bambini or Children's House was opened at the behest of the local authorities. As Dr. Montessori observed the children under her care, she developed the theories and philosphies which are the essence of Montessori to this day.

While Montessori has its roots in the slums, it is hugely popular in middle class  communities throughout the world. Dr. Montessori never trademarked her name or the method which bears her name. As a result Montessori schools come in a wide variety of styles and approaches depending on the philosophic track which their directors have adopted. You will need to check very carefully to ensure that the school you are interested in actually adheres to Dr. Montessori's teachings and methods. You will have over 6,000 schools from which to choose.

Reggio Emilia
You won't find a Reggio Emilia school per se. You will find Reggio Emilia inspired schools. These are schools which have made a point of adopting the ideas and philosophy which the Reggio Emilia movement has codified. Things like naturally lit classrooms and a collaborative approach to education with plenty of parental involvement are what appeal to...
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Extracurricular Activities and Why They Are so Important
Extracurricular activities are not an extra in a private school. They are an integral part of the program each school offers.
Extracurricular activities are exactly that, extras, right? Unfortunately, in these tough economic times that is very often the case in public schools. Faced with declining tax revenues, public schools have had to make some very heavy cuts in their budgets. It's difficult to justify cutting teachers and course offerings. So, the 'extras' have to be cut. Extras in the public school world include extracurricular activities such as a band or orchestra as well as clubs and other activities.
 
In private schools extracurricular activities are an integral part of the school's offerings. Solid academics, a variety of athletic programs and an assortment of extracurricular activities are considered essential to the way a private school works.

Put another way, you cannot educate a child solely by teaching her academic subjects such as math and science. There's more to education than that. That's where sports and extracurricular activities come in. They allow your child to grow. They allow her to be stimulated by new ideas and ways of thinking. They give her a sense of accomplishment and encourage team spirit. These are all excellent lessons she needs to learn in order to be a successful adult.

Let's look at a couple of schools to get an idea of the rich array of choices your child will encounter at private school. Incidentally, it doesn't matter too much whether the private school you are considering is a day school or a boarding school. Either type of private school will offer more extracurricular activities than you can imagine....
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Schools for Gifted Children
Teaching gifted children requires deft handling. These children need intellectual and sensory stimulation. But they also need guidance and careful nurturing so that they grow up handling their special gifts and themselves appropriately.
It is a humbling moment for parents when they realize that their child is gifted. If we accept the definition of gifted as being something along these lines:

"A gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression." ....National Association of Gifted Children

then it becomes obvious we have a huge responsibility on our hands. Because you have enriched your child's learning since birth, you understandably are anxious about placing him in a school setting where his giftedness will be misunderstood by both teachers and his peers. You want him to blossom and flourish in a formal school setting. You don't want limits placed on how fast he advances in a particular subject. You also want him to socialize in as normal a manner as possible. What then, besides home schooling, are your options?

The reality is that your choices for educating your gifted child may be limited by where you live and the programs available in your local public and private schools. Private schools for gifted children are highly specialized schools with well-qualified faculty who understand how to teach gifted children. Admission is generally based on several criteria one of which is an IQ test with a minimum of 125-140 the norm. The schools will also want to interview you and your child in order to see if there is a good match between your needs and requirements and those of the school.

Here are...
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Lab Schools
What is a lab school? It's a K-12 school or school with some variation of those grades which is operated by a university or college.
What is a lab school? It is a K-12 school or school with some variation of those grades which typically is operated by a university or college. Sometimes it is called a demonstration school. A few lab schools are not affiliated with any institution of higher learning.
The school is a lab or laboratory school because teachers in training and the faculty of the college's education department usually have a hand in teaching and running the school. Like scientists experimenting in their labs, these educators use the lab school as their place to try out theories and methods. They also provide student teachers a controlled situation where they can learn the art of teaching.
Most lab schools are progressive schools as well. What are the differences between traditional and progressive schools? This chart from the Wingras School in Madison, Wisconsin illustrates the main differences. Lab schools adopt the progressive philosophy as part of their child-centric approach to education. The flexibility inherent in the progressive approach works well with student teachers who are just coming to grips with how children learn.

The list of schools which follows includes only private lab schools. Many state and public universities operate their lab schools in conjunction with the local school district. As such they do not charge tuition or charge very little tuition. The private lab schools do charge tuition.
 
A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, Ruston, LA
Grades: K-8
Program: "The school's purpose is to educate students in a wholesome, challenging...
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Two television series about private schools received a certain amount of buzz. Gossip Girl aired on CW. NYC Prep was on Bravo.
Two television series about private schools have received a certain amount of buzz recently. Gossip Girl  airs on CWNYC Prep is on Bravo.
 
Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl is based on the novels of Cecily von Ziegesar.  Ms. von Ziegsar herself is a graduate of Nightingale-Bamford, a Manhattan girls' school. The Gossip Girl series made it to the best seller lists in 2002. It chronicles the lives and exploits of the wealthy teens attending The Constance Billard School for Girls. Gossip Girl premiered on CW in 2007.

What's to Like

The cinematography is fabulous. You will have plenty of New York City vistas, shops and restaurants, as well as those incredible Park Avenue apartments to soak up. HDTV makes it a breath-taking experience without doubt.

The fact that the show really does not depict what actually goes on in a fine old Manhattan girls' school. That's a good thing. Because we can only imagine what those poor teachers and administrators have to deal with on a daily basis. New York is a vibrant, exciting city, but it can be terribly rough and 'in your face'. It takes a very tough teacher to face some of those parents and children in a conference room discussing little Rebecca's failing grade in calculus, that's for sure.

The clothes. No American city does clothes better than New York. And these kids know how to wear those clothes. And where to wear them. Fashionistas will find much to savor in each...
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Why Private School

About Private Schools

An in depth look at private schools, including history, a comparison to public education, and a glimpse of what’s being taught. Learn about the benefits of attending private school, to both students and parents. Explore private schools options when living abroad, and debunk many of the myths regarding private school education.

Kinds of Schools

Private schools are just as varied as public schools. From Catholic to progressive, military to special needs, private schools offer a lot of options. Take a comprehensive look into the many types of private schools, weigh the pros and cons of each, and get helpful tips on choosing one that works best for your child.

School Life

Get a glimpse of private school life. Here you’ll find a survival guide for parents, brush up on terms and jargon, and learn why extracurricular activities are so important.

Directories

We offer several directories to aid in your choice of a private school. Included are quick links to national, regional and state associations, a list of offline resources to aid in our decision, and local school directories for several metropolitan areas.