There are several important factors to consider when comparing private education to public education. To determine which one is the best fit for your child, you need to look at what makes them different from one another. Two areas where private and public schools often differ drastically are in size and educational philosophy. You can use these two factors to compare private education and public education as part of your decision-making process.
Private and public schools are often very different in size. The teacher to student ratio in the private school classroom is generally smaller than the one you will find in the public school classroom. This factor is an important one to consider because it can have a significant impact on the type of education your child receives. A smaller teacher to student ratio allows the teacher to provide more individualized instruction to students. In some private school classrooms, students get the benefit of having learning plans customized to their needs and interests. This type of customization is not possible in an over-crowded public classroom. As you look at specific schools, ask about the size of the classes so you can compare the private programs you are considering directly to the public school option.
Education is so much more than teaching children to read or solve math equations. The type of education your child receives in the early years will have an impact on his or her learning going forward. For example, if your child learns early on that she is responsible for her education, it will help her become a self-directed and lifelong learner. On the other hand, if you have a bright child that is never challenged in the classroom he may struggle to adapt once he faces challenges in secondary or post-secondary education. Factors like the ones mentioned here are related to the educational philosophy of the school your child attends. The philosophy that the school is designed around will have an impact on what your child comes to believe about learning. For example, the overarching goal of the Montessori philosophy of education is to prepare students for success in life. This goal informs the design of the classroom and the curriculum. The public school in your area will also operate from a set of beliefs about the purpose and role of education. You can compare the educational philosophy of the public school nearby with the private schools you are considering to help in the decision making process.
There are many more factors you can use to compare private education and public education. But the differences in size and philosophy between the two are often so drastic that these factors are enough to help parents make a decision. You can learn more about this topic and others related to private education from the resources in the Fountainhead Montessori Parent Library.