There are many options for private education in the Bay Area. With so many options, how do you decide which one is best for your child? You need to ask some key questions about each private program you consider. It will take some extra time to dig into the details of each program. However, the private school you choose for your child will have a significant impact on his or her life and education. You can quickly narrow down your list of potential programs based on location. Once you have a shortlist of options, the next step is to ask a few key questions: Do I agree with the educational philosophy of this program? What sets this program apart from other options? Can my child get a quality education in this private school?
Do I agree with the educational philosophy of this program?
Private education programs are built on a foundation that includes a philosophy of education. Private schools have much more freedom than public programs when it comes to choosing an educational philosophy. Private schools can base elements such as classroom design, curriculum, and student expectations on the underlying philosophy they espouse. For example, in a Montessori program, you will find classrooms that are child-centered in their design. The student to teacher ratio will be small to allow the teacher time to observe and interact with each student. The curriculum will put a heavy focus on hands-on-learning. Each of these elements in the Montessori classroom is there because of the program's underlying educational philosophy. Any private program you consider will have an educational philosophy that will direct many aspects of the program. Ask about the educational philosophy of any program you consider to determine if it aligns with your own beliefs about education.
What sets this program apart from other options?
Another important question to ask as you explore private education programs is about what sets the program apart. Why would you choose that program over all the other options? As you talk to the admissions staff at a particular program, ask this question directly. You can learn a lot about a school by learning what makes it unique and how it serves students. It is a good idea to ask specifically about enrichment programs and unique learning opportunities to get a better idea of what a private program has to offer.
Can my child get a quality education in private school?
There are many advantages to choosing a private school over public: smaller class sizes, more flexibility, unique learning opportunities. But before you can focus on those elements, you need to start by asking about the quality of education your child will get in a particular program. Look into the quality of education in each program you consider. Ask about the curriculum and how progress is measured. Enrichment programs and unique learning opportunities are important, but they must go hand-in-hand with a top-notch education.
Take your time to explore the various private school options in your area. Once you make a decision, your child will be in that particular program for years to come. It is worth your time to ask the important questions of each program. If you want to deepen your understanding of the programs, even more, schedule a time to tour the campus and/or observe a class.