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.
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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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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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Semester Schools
A semester school allows you to experience new surroundings, new environments, different ways of life and much more.
How about living on a working farm for a semester? Or investigating marine life  in The Bahamas? Perhaps you grew up on a farm and are hankering to explore a major city like New York? A semester school offers those experiences and more.
 
Semester schools offer enrichment to your high school experience. The semester school, like its big cousin, the year abroad, offers you a chance to experience different worlds, different environments and different cultures or gives you time to do some substantive research.  And you can, in most cases, enjoy this incredible experience without leaving the country. The Island School located in Eleuthera, Bahamas and Swiss Semester located in Switzerland are the two exceptions on the list of programs below.
 
The cost? From no cost to several thousands of dollars not including extras. Is there financial aid? Yes. Ask the individual program providers for complete details.
 
When do you go? Typically students like to spend part of their junior year away from their home school. It's practical and doesn't interfere much with the academic sequence, testing, college applications and all the other features of your senior year.
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Progressive Schools
Progressive schools have been around since the early 1900's. Some educators think that progressives are rebels against traditional rote learning. The progressive educators like to think of themselves as reformers. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Progressive schools have been around since the early 1900's. Some educators think that progressives are rebels against traditional rote learning. The progressive educators like to think of themselves as reformers. The truth is somewhere in between the two points of view.
 
The movement has an interesting history. Read about John Dewey (1859-1952), the modern founder of the movement in the U.S. You can only wonder what might have happened to public education had some of his ideas taken root. As it is, progressive educators and schools which employ their philosophies are pretty much confined to the private sector. A list of private schools which embrace the progressive ideals, teachings and curricula is given below.
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Recent Articles
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Why Private School

KINDS OF SCHOOLS