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:
Progressive schools are different from traditional schools. Their educational philosophies and teaching methods are different. Because there are so few progressive schools, relatively speaking - only about 75 schools call themselves progressive - most people are surprised when they discover that these schools exist. Here then are five facts about progressive schools which we hope will encourage you to find out more about progressive education.
1. Most progressive schools don't issue report cards.
Professor John Dewey disliked the notion of children sitting in rigid rows listening to a teacher, memorizing facts and regurgitating those facts on command. Dr. Dewey felt that students needed to learn by doing. Implicit in this philosophy of education is an aversion to testing and report cards. You will monitor your child's progress in less traditional ways. Instead of receiving a document with traditional grades such as A's and B's you will receive a reporting detailing your child's progress in a variety of areas which the school feels are important.
2. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools are progressive schools.
Instrinsic in a Montessori education is the idea that a child needs to explore in order to learn. Learning is guided in the Montessori classroom. The teacher does not direct the learning. She guides it. Classes are multiage so that a younger child learns from older children. Waldorf schools are world-famous for developing children's imaginations. Reggio Emilia inspired schools emphasize the involvement and collaborative aspects of educating their students. These are approaches and ideas which are not usually
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This table will help you see at a glance how private schools compare with public schools. Use it to explore issues and to help answer questions which you have about private schools. A list of resources with supporting data and information is given at the end of the table.
  Private Schools Public Schools
Administration Local school support staff manage the day to day operations. Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations.
Admissions Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set. Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.
Arts All kinds of arts programs are essential in a private school education. Orchestras, bands and choirs are part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of the program. Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually the first area of expense to be cut when savings must be found.
Class Size Private schools generally have small classes with 12-15 students the norm. Depending on the staffing in a local school public schools can have as many as 25-35 students per class.
Curriculum Private schools teach the subjects they wish to teach as well as meeting the state minimums. They use a variety of assessment methods to determine how a child is performing. Public schools must teach what
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It's a big step sending your darling off to private school. She will probably survive the transition just fine. But how about you? How will you restrain yourself and avoid being an over-protective or helicopter parent? Let's look at how to cope with private school at four grade levels.
When you send your baby off to preschool or nursery school, you will go through all kinds of angst. Especially if she's your first child. Or only child. You can offset much of the worry by selecting your preschool or nursery school carefully. The best schools will be hard to get into. Places will be limited. But once she's accepted, then determine how you can be helpful without getting in the way. Most schools will welcome assistance with everything from class activities to fund raising. The key is to stay involved as a team player rather than as the leader which you are probably accustomed to being.
Elementary School
This is where things begin to get interesting from a parenting perspective. Why? Because the elementary years are the time when most children learn those core skills which cast the die for a lifetime of learning. If you have been serious about parenting, you taught your child to read ages ago. Probably when she was two or three years old. You limited her television watching and video games so that she developed her imagination and ability to experience situations vicariously. That worked well in your home. But now she is surrounded by children raised
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Is your grandchild going away to private school? Perhaps you are wondering how you can fit into his new life away from home. You have always enjoyed watching him grow up. You've gone on trips and vacations together. Just because he's away at school doesn't mean that you can't be close. After all this is the 21st century when it's easy to stay connected.
Let's look at some of the special things a grandparent can do to stay connected with a beloved grandchild who's off at school.
It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.
Just be careful to read your missives carefully before you hit the send button. Remember: you are not there to explain what you mean. So don't be cryptic. He's got plenty to do without wondering what's going on back home. It's also
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Are you thinking about something other than the usual public school experience for your toddler or primary school age child? If you are, then the next question you are most likely asking is exactly what kind of alternatives are out there anyway? How expensive are they? Are there schools in my area? How will the foundation these schools provide serve my child's future learning in grade school, high school and beyond? Let's take a look at each of these questions and offer some answers.
Early Education Options
Traditional teacher-led education? A follow the child approach as championed by Maria Montessori? The Steiner approach? Reggio Emilia inspired? Those are your broad choices.
Traditional teacher-led education remains popular. Most of us are familiar with this approach to teaching primary age school children because we ourselves are products of those classes. The public school system which I attended in Westmount, Montreal back in the '50s used that traditional approach. Indeed we all had desks lined up in rows. Looking back it seems rather quaint and not a little bit militaristic. But that's the way we were taught back then. We had homework. We were given grades. We are rapped on the knuckles if we misbehaved.
In the 21st century traditional teacher-led education is the norm in many schools both public and private. There are an infinite number of variations on this approach. Some retain the regimentation and strictness which we and our parents remember. Most, however, tend to have been softened with a deeper understanding of
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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.


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.