Your child will receive numerous benefits by attending a small private school instead of a large public school. The smaller teacher to student ratio will allow for more individualized instruction. Also, private schools have more freedom to provide resources that align with a particular educational philosophy instead of being bound by the red tape that public schools face. Despite the benefits of private education, you may have some concerns that your child is missing out on opportunities by being in a small school. Many parents have concerns that private programs cannot provide the same access to materials, enrichment programs, or social interactions as larger programs. In a well-designed private program your child will not be missing out on important opportunities because it is small. In fact, you will find that your student is provided with a much broader range of opportunities by attending a top-notch private school.
Access to materials
In a small private school, your student will have easy access to materials that are thoughtfully chosen to provide learning opportunities that align with his or her needs and interests. For example, in the Montessori classroom hands-on activities are an essential element of the learning process. The materials available in the classroom are continually updated to meet the changing needs, interests, and levels of students. As a student progresses through a topic or concept the teacher observes the progression and provides the student with materials to move on to the next level. This individualization of materials is not possible in a large public classroom because teachers do not have the time or resources to customize materials for so many students.
Many large schools have a long list of available enrichment programs. The quality of and participation in these programs can vary based on a wide range of factors. In private schools, you will also find enrichment programs. The list of options may be smaller, but each one is chosen and designed with intention. Fountainhead Montessori provides enrichment programs for students such as music, movement, science, gardening, language immersion, and optional discovery camps. Carefully selected and intentionally designed enrichment programs in a private school can provide your student ample opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience in a variety of areas.
Interaction with others
The level and type of interaction students will have with others is a concern of some parents when considering private school. When a program is small, it can limit the number of interactions for your child. This low classroom ratio of students can cause parents concern about opportunities to develop social skills and friendships. The reality is that a smaller environment provides more opportunities to interact with others. In large classrooms students do not often get the opportunity to talk or interact on any meaningful level because the noise can quickly get out of hand. Teachers have to spend their time controlling the classroom which typically means forcing students to stay quiet and work alone. In a private school setting students have more freedom and flexibility to engage in activities that require interaction, collaboration, and cooperation with others.
The school you choose for your child will impact the education and opportunities he or she receives. It will also impact the relationships that your child has the opportunity to build. You can assuage any fears you have about missed opportunities by scheduling a time to observe a class at the private school you are considering. Once you see private education in action, you will get a clearer picture of what your student has to gain from attending a small private school.