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:
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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? 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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Extracurricular Activities: 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.

How can extracurricular activities possibly be important? After all, aren't they extras? Unfortunately, in these tough economic times, that is very often the case in public schools where all too often local education leaders view extracurricular activities as extras. As they have faced declining tax revenues, public schools have had to make some drastic cuts in their budgets. School boards have a hard time justifying cutting the number of teachers. They run up against the same problem with course offerings. So, school boards and administrators look for programs which they can eliminate or, at least, reduce expenditures.  Accordingly, they decide to cut the extras.  In the public school world, those extras include extracurricular activities such as a band or orchestra, as well as clubs and other activities.

On the other hand, for 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 essentials in private schools. Most private schools believe that you cannot educate a child solely by teaching her academic subjects. While math,  science and all the other subjects are an important part of her schooling, there is much more to education than just academics. That's where sports and extracurricular activities come in. They allow your child to grow. They stimulate her with new ideas and new ways of thinking. They give her a sense of accomplishment and build her confidence. They teach tolerance and encourage teamwork. These are all excellent lessons which

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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

It dawns on us that 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 both his teachers and his peers might misunderstand his giftedness. Ideally, you want him to blossom and flourish in a formal school setting; however you don't want limits placed on how fast he advances. If he decides to explore a particular subject in depth, you want him to be able to do that. If he is doing math several years ahead of his grade level, you want him to have an accelerated math program. You also want him to socialize in as normal a manner as possible. Learning how to fit in is paramount as he matures. Fortunately, you have several options available. Homeschooling, charter schools, talented and gifted programs run by your local school district, your local public school, and private schools are all possibilities into which you should look.

Start by looking for schools in the web. Ask friends and family for their recommendations. Once you have a short list of schools and programs

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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 environment that will
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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
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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.