FAQs About Private Schools, Asked by Parents
Private school education provides certain elements and benefits that are not as possible in a public school setting. Public schools inherently come with certain regulations and restrictions that private schools do not. While there are countless options available for both private and public education–both extremely high-quality, I might add–some people choose to have their children attend private school because there is inherently more freedom to progress and provide top-of-the-line resources to their students.
So, what exactly are parents looking for in a good private school? What are some of the most common reasons for choosing a private school education for your child compared to a public school alternative?
Well, this article is going to answer these questions and more as we understand the differences between public schools and private schools and address some of the common concerns that many parents express when making these types of decisions.
There are a lot of similarities and differences between public schools and private schools. We’ll cover the top reasons why parents send their children to private school, and then we’ll outline and answer FAQs about private schools from parents who may still be deciding on what is best for their children.
What are parents’ top reasons for sending their children to private school?
Every year, independent schools conduct surveys to learn more about why parents may choose to send their children to the school for multiple years in a row. While many parent’s answers varied, most of their concerns fell into the realm of 4 main reasons:
Rigor of Program/Skill of Faculty: these concerns are mostly about credentials. Some parents will send their children to a certain school purely for a program being offered that is not available elsewhere. Likewise, specialized teachers are part of what make these types of programs even possible.
Moral Influence/Community: traditionally, parents would go back to private schools for the role that the school community served as a countercultural influence in their children’s lives. This could mean anything from the restriction of pop-culture influences or media-bent ideologies. However, these days, parents will send their children to private schools for the moral community and moral leadership more so than to restrict exposure to the inescapable digital world that exists in today’s world.
Teacher/Child Relationships: one of the biggest reasons parents send their children back to private schools is for the deep, valuable connection a teacher has with their student. In many cases, parents reported that the relationship a child has with the teacher trumps the skill of the teacher. While parents do expect a skilled teacher, they also understand the most powerful value in a child’s experience comes from them feeling supported, believed in, coached, carried, and pushed by their teacher.
Safety: this was the number one reason parents gave for sending their children back to private schools. Parents want their children to feel safe in every way they can possibly feel safe. This means safe socially and safe emotionally. They want their children to feel known; to feel known as a student, as a person, as a member of a family, as a member of a social group where the teacher knows the social position of that child in the group. Along with these environmental factors, parents are also primarily concerned about the physical safety of the school above all else.
FAQs About Private Schools
Even though private schools are expensive, a good question to ask yourself, as a parent, is “what can I give my kids that will last them forever?” Certainly a parent can give their children deep, loving support and rich family histories but equally important, they can give their kids the best education for a head start in life.
Giving your kids the very best early education informal learning that is available to you may be one of the greatest gifts you can give your child that will last them forever. How are you supposed to know what makes an education good?
After reading some of the FAQs about private schools, you will have some direction and understanding towards making a decision that is best for your child.
What is truly the mission of the school and how does that align with what I want for my child?
Most schools will have their mission statements visible. They can sound like something along the lines of, ‘to inspire a passion for learning’ or ‘to create a safe, effective learning environment that enables each child to reach their potential.’ By understanding a school’s mission statement and vision is the easiest and fastest way to know if the school is a good fit for what you want for your child.
How does the school view the role of parents?
It’s important to consider what your role as a parent is in the education of your child. For some schools, it is not as simple as handing your child off and passing along all responsibility. While parents do have a tremendous burden in parenting to provide and support their children all at the same time, it really does take a village to raise a child. When looking at potential schools to send your children to, learn more about what the school expects out of the parent, and how they involve you as parents. This will also be an easy way to know if the school is a good fit for your family.
Who are the teachers? What are their backgrounds in education and what are their experiences?
Obviously, the skill of the teacher is a primary concern in education. It is important to connect with the instructors and their experiences a little to inform your decision. Whenever a teacher closes the door to their classroom, they create an entire world of learning for the children. Knowing what kind of world the teacher creates will help you understand if that is something you’d like for your child.
What is the school environment like?
Is the environment full of joy, ease, and lightness or is it a disorganized and chaotic experience? How safe is the school? It is okay to ask questions about the security of the school. Especially in light of more recent times, the safety and infrastructure of the school’s security is a huge factor you should consider. Along with this, you can also ask yourself: what sort of social or emotional environment is the school providing? Is the school good at forming a community of students or a community of teachers? Is there support being offered and are the teachers passionate? There really are a lot of factors that contribute to a proactive and healthy learning environment – take some time to understand as many of these factors as you can before making a decision.
How can I best prepare my child?
Regardless of what stage of education your child is in, you should always take into account how your child feels about their own education at points. That doesn’t necessarily mean you let them make the decision on their own; however, students should be able to identify and advocate for themselves in what they feel like they need from a learning environment. You can also do your due diligence and really interrogate the school in terms of what makes their graduates different from other schools. What was the school able to provide that other schools may not?
Where do you go from here?
As parents, there is a tremendous responsibility for the education and formation of children. The reality is, that when parents look for a school for their children, they are essentially looking to form a partnership with someone who is going to assist in the huge responsibility of parenthood.
Deciding on the best school for your child is certainly a difficult choice to make. Hopefully reading some of the FAQS about private schools that other parents have had and understanding what makes an education worthwhile will help you in your decision.