5 Benefits of Private vs. Public School
Every parent has a different answer and it’s hard to generalize. But in talking to prospective, current and past parents about their decision, common themes emerge.
Why do parents choose private over public? It’s about choice. More and more, parents are looking to independent schools for more choice — and say — in how their children are educated. They might be looking for a religious school or one with a distinct educational philosophy, whether traditional or progressive. They might live in a town with overcrowded public schools, or one that has a good reputation but is not a good fit for their child.
1. Small class sizes and low student to teacher ratio
Private schools vary greatly in size, but almost all focus on the importance of small class sizes and a low student to teacher ratio. This allows teachers to really get to know each student, to perform more thorough and holistic assessments, and to help develop students’ weak areas and advance their talents and strengths.
Small class sizes can greatly benefit both academic and social/emotional development for students of all ages. The lower student to teacher ratio also helps children find their voice and grow in confidence. Most research studies have focused on children in younger grades, especially in reading and math, but individualized attention is an important advantage for elementary and middle school students as well. Students in private school are less likely to “get lost,” fall behind or feel unimportant. In smaller schools, there are more opportunities for leadership and achievement in academic and extracurricular areas like the arts.
2. Individual attention and personalized learning
No two children learn the same way. Personalized learning, which is tailored to the student’s interests, skills and learning preferences, has been shown to increase student engagement, persistence and achievement. But while most educators agree this approach is optimal, it is difficult to accomplish in a large class.
Smaller classes are less “one size fits all” by design, allowing the teacher to tailor lessons to different individual students and to more easily manage personalized learning. Teachers are better able to get to know students and their distinct learning styles, preferences and needs, and have more time to engage with each student. In many schools, personalized learning also allows students to move ahead at their own pace, in order to tackle more challenging academic content when they’re ready rather than having to wait for the rest of the class.
3. Parent and family involvement
While parent involvement is common in both public and private schools during the early years, it often tapers off in the early elementary years. Most private schools promote open communication between parents and the administration, and they make it a priority to involve parents in the school community. From frequent parent-teacher meetings, family/school social events, and the participation of parent committees in fundraising initiatives, families become an integral part of the school community and their child’s education.
Private, independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals. As a parent, you can actively engage in your student’s education, because the staff and teachers want and value your participation. A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education.
4. School culture and community
Lower staff-to-student ratios allow for more effective observation during class, recess and transition times. Teachers overhear conversations and can help teach children how to resolve conflicts and navigate different social situations. The strong sense of community found in private schools also discourages dangerous or anti-social behavior like bullying. (In a small school, it’s hard to get away with anything!)
5. Campus facilities and extras
Good private schools have classroom environments and facilities that inspire learning and discovery and accommodate a wide range of extracurricular activities — from sports and physical fitness activities to dance, music and theater arts to tech innovation and robotics.
Look for schools that offer programs and facilities to match your child’s interests — and that allow all to dabble in different areas to experiment, stretch themselves, and try new things just for fun. Special facilities might include: Playgrounds and recess spaces for different ages; Arts spaces for visual and performing arts; Maker spaces or STEM labs; Indoor gyms and outdoor sports fields; Outdoor classrooms, nature trails or school gardens; Auditorium or gathering space for all-school community gatherings and celebrations.
These are just some of the reasons parents choose private schools. When it comes to choosing the school itself, the choices become more personal. For many parents, it’s a “gut feeling” they experience when visiting a campus or school event. So, in addition to doing your research, be sure to visit a school early in the decision-making process to see what it’s like for yourself.To arrange a campus tour or attend a special event at Inly School, visit our Admissions page.
Learn More from The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
What Are Independent Private Schools?
It’s good to know that personalized learning can help increase the engagement of a student. My son is especially good at math but tends to fall behind when it comes to reading for long periods of time. Maybe it would be best to find a program that can focus on strengthening the areas of his education that need to most improvement.