Seeking the best education for their child leads many parents to consider private schools. In addition to a collective reputation for high standards and producing successful graduates, private schools appeal to parents for a trio of reasons that encompass their core benefits: community, class size and curriculum.
Private schools foster a more personal, intimate atmosphere, where a parent can feel confident their child will feel recognized, known and appreciated, even beyond graduation. “Students become members of a community that they will be an integral part of for the rest of their lives,” says David Fischer, director of admissions at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto.
That community includes the school staff, who help nurture strong connections. “Everyone feels welcome,” says Nancy Richards, head of school at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville, Ont. “[Our] committed, helpful and hard-working faculty genuinely care for and bond with the students in a personalized way.”
Merrick David, assistant director, enrolment and financial aid at Toronto’s Crescent School, agrees. “Faculty and staff play a significant role in student lives as mentors and coaches, supporting students in their transition to the adolescent years,” he says, “from attending their games and performances to taking time to learn about their lives outside the school.”
And the close-knit environment at a private school extends to parents, too. “We have a strong and vibrant parent community that takes an active role in partnering with the school,” says David. “Together we create a learning environment.”
One of the biggest draws for many parents is the low student-to-teacher ratio at private schools. With typically 20 or fewer students in a class, parents know their child will have more opportunity to participate, connect with their teachers and peers, and maximize their potential. Small classes also afford teachers more time to devote to each child, allowing for individualized attention, tailored lessons and a deeper connection with every student.
“Our students benefit from a ‘big school experience’ in a smaller school setting,” says Richards. “Students have access to all of the top-notch opportunities and experiences that most large schools can offer, but in our community each student is known and recognized as an individual.”
Private schools are renowned for rigorous curricula, top-notice education, and according to Stats Canada, high test scores, reassuring parents that their child will be set up for success. “We offer robust programming that creates space for students to build their confidence, find their passions and achieve excellence in whatever path they choose,” Richards says. “We specialize in providing unique opportunities centred around developing ethical, culturally competent leaders.”
Parents can also rest easier knowing a private-school curriculum will help bring out the best in their child. “Our focus on active, experiential and relational learning ensures students can discover their promise, pursue their potential and define their purpose,” David says. “We help them discover and explore their full potential and nurture the scholar, athlete, artist or student leader within.”
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