When paying extra for a private elementary school for your child, you want to make sure you are securing the best possible education for them. It is natural to seek out the best school you can afford to give your child all of the advantages you can. But even though private schools are regularly ranked by the academic, social, and athletic success of their students, you cannot consider only the rankings of a school when choosing where to send your child. Instead, you need to find the best school to match your child's personality.
Each School Has a Different Focus
While many schools aim to produce well-rounded students, they also have areas of emphasis. This is especially true for private and charter schools, which may follow looser academic regulations than publicly funded schools. For example, some schools emphasize traditional academics while others focus on athletics, the arts, or social development. Most private schools tend to be upfront about their focus areas, and you should choose one that your child shows interest and ability in. For example, a child with weak academic skills but strong social skills may feel more comfortable at a school with a community focus, and that comfort can allow them to progress more efficiently in academics.
Private Schools Follow Different Models
You've probably heard of the more popular educational models such as Montessori and Waldorf. While more public schools are following parts of these methods, private schools are fine-tuning their methods. A school may be project-based, individually-paced, collaborative, instruction-based, or hands-off. Each of these methods addresses the needs of different types of students.
It can be difficult to assess what kind of learner your child will be before they enter elementary school. However, the type of preschool program they attended as well as their success in it can give you some idea of the best approach for your child. Talk to their preschool teacher about their learning approach and what school model might be best for them.
Community Is Important
Whatever type of school your child chooses, it will important for them to feel comfortable in their school community. Most schools have methods in place for building community, which will be important if your child will be attending a school where they do not know anyone. However, some children benefit from external community bonds that occur when you send your child to the same school as family members or friends. This is especially important to consider if you are considering gender-based schools and your child has a sibling or friends of the opposite gender.
Each school has different strengths and weaknesses, and the best school is the school that fits your child's specific needs. It is important for you to include your child in the decision and to assess schools based on their needs rather than the school's reputation.