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.
View the most popular articles in Kinds of Schools:
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The Oldest Schools
The oldest schools are concentrated in the east in what were the original thirteen colonies. Most of the founders of these early schools were principled men and women with lofty ideals and purposes.
The oldest American private school is Collegiate School in Manhattan founded in 1628. Not surprisingly, the oldest schools are concentrated in the east in what were the original thirteen colonies. Most of the founders of these early schools were principled men and women with lofty ideals and purposes. Take John Phillips, for example.

"The founder of Phillips Exeter Academy defined its mission more than two centuries ago. 'Above all,' John Phillips stated, 'it is expected that the attention of instructors to the disposition of the minds and morals of the youth under their charge will exceed every other care; well considering that though goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.' ....Academy Mission Statement

The Ursuline Academy was founded in New Orleans in 1727 because the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula were "Convinced that the education of women was essential to the development of a civilized, spiritual and just society." These schools established so long ago are a lasting tribute to the vision of these early founders. Here then in their own words are the oldest schools.

1628 - Collegiate School

"Collegiate School, a day school for boys, is the oldest independent school in the United States. Tracing its origins to 1628, the school was established by the Dutch West India Company and the Classis of Amsterdam, the parent ecclesiastical body of

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Waldorf Schools
Waldorf schools offer a well thought out approach to K-12 education.
Waldorf schools offer a well thought out approach to K-12 education. Unlike Montessori schools which focus on the primary grades, Waldorf schools cover all the grades. The Waldorf movement got its start with the writings and philosophy of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). Pictured on the right , Steiner was an Austrian born philosopher who founded a movement known as anthropsophy.
 
The essence of the Waldorf approach to education is its emphasis on developing a child's imagination and creative side. The Waldorf pedagogues prefer that young children never be exposed to popular entertainment such as television, popular music and computers. Competition is replaced with cooperation. Eurythmy, an expressive music cum dance art form, plays a central role in developing a child's artistic expression. The whole child is engaged at his own pace as opposed to being entertained by media in one form or another.
 
Another unique concept is that a teacher moves with the class over a four year cycle. Waldorf teachers are a highly skilled lot who have the ongoing development of their young charges at heart. Standardized textbooks are rarely used. Students create their own beautifully written and illustrated course books. Bilingualism is encouraged. Specialized teachers are introduced in the high school years to teach advanced math and science as well as languages.

A Waldorf education appeals to parents who embrace their responsibilities as parents for their children's education. Rather than let some government institution do the job, Waldorf parents are an integral part of the education triangle of home, school
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Montessori Schools
Montessori schools are popular world-wide with parents of children in the primary grades.

Montessori schools are popular world-wide with parents of children in the primary grades.  Interestingly enough, the educational concepts pioneered and codified by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) decades ago to educate mentally retarded and ineducable children in the inner city have morphed into a kind of schooling generally available only to middle and upper class families nowadays.

How do I know a school is a genuine Montessori school?

Caveat emptor! Not every school which claims to be a Montessori school adheres to the founder's standards and methods. That is because the name Montessori has never been protected by trademark or copyright law. As a result, you can have a Montessori school of any strength of Montessori-ness you can imagine. In truth, the genuine article is a school which is a member of the American Montessori Society. It will have been officially sanctioned by the association. It will have certified Montessori teachers using Montessori methods and equipment. That is not to say that a school which claims to be a Montessori school but is not part of the national association is any less good or effective. That, as always, depends on the quality of the teachers and teaching. Just be aware that Montessori has become a household name, much like 'Xerox' is synonymous with 'copying'.

What is so appealing to parents about the Montessori method?

What, then, is so appealing about Dr. Montessori's methods? At the heart of her philosophy is the idea that children learn differently from adults and that they should be allowed

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International Schools
Sending your children to an international school might make sense if you plan on being in the U.S. only for a few years.
If you are an expatriate with school age children and are in the United States for a stint of a couple years and intend to return home, then an international school is a great option for you. No sense in sending your children to a regular American public school only to have them yanked from that culture a few years hence. Educate them according to the curricula and standards to which you are accustomed. They won't have to back track and fill in the material which they missed. International schools make a point of using curricula approved by the authorities in your home country. Obviously if your home country happens to be the United Kingdom, France or Germany, you are in luck.

International schools are concentrated in major urban areas as a rule. However, you will find schools in some rather unlikely places. It is always a good idea to ask your consulate or embassy for suggestions. Most are day schools. That works well for a young family.
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Hockey Schools
Got an aspiring hockey player in your family? Be sure to check out private high schools. Your daughter or son will find some excellent hockey teams as well as superb sports facilities to match. And, yes, the academics are first-rate too.
Most Canadians are absolutely crazy about their national sport. They begin playing at a very young age. Hockey rinks can be found in just about every hamlet. The Canadian climate tends to foster the sport with long, rather cold winters. Most private schools in Canada offer hockey at the intramural and varsity level. The coaching tends to be of a pretty high standard.
 
 
But what about south of the border? The expansion of the National Hockey League into southern and western states has created a whole new following. Thousands of young people suddenly want to be professional hockey players. They love the fast pace and excitement of Canada's national sport. So, if your son or daughter (yes, many coed and girls schools mount girls' hockey teams) is clamoring to go to a 'hockey' school, then, you can't do much better than some of the schools on the list below. These fine American private schools enjoy a great reputation for excellent hockey teams as well as superb academics. Who knows! Maybe your kid will end up on an NHL team.
 

The Albany Academies

From Head Coach Brett Riley: "A sound attitude and advanced level of skill are pre requisites for a position on the varsity team, as is the realization that a varsity sport may require a six day a week commitment. This commitment may extend into vacation periods for sports seasons. The dedication and commitment needed to conduct a successful varsity program must

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KINDS OF SCHOOLS