In order to set your child up for success in life, it is critical to start early — as young as kindergarten or preschool. In recent months, 3.7 million children began their educational careers by enrolling in kindergarten. Too few parents realize that these early years can shape your child’s entire future.
Here is what NPR-member radio station KQED has to say about it: “Research has shown that high-quality early education benefits children, especially children from low-income families, through to their adulthood. A strong start can improve academic achievement, financial independence, even heart health.”
By contrast, a weak start can have lasting, even lifelong, consequences. Children who do not attend preschool and/or perform poorly in kindergarten also perform poorly in subsequent grades. Worse, failing kindergarten can establish longstanding patterns of stress and low self-esteem. What is the solution?
For many children, a private education makes all the difference. Learn the undeniable benefits of private primary school below.
Why a Private Education?
As of fall 2017, there were 5.7 million children attending private schools. Nationwide, there are 2,000 institutions providing children with private education. One thing is clear: private schools are popular. But do they live up to the hype?
In short, the answer is yes. The advantages of private schools are innumerable. Kids enrolled in private schools receive better care and treatment, eat healthier and more nutritious meals at lunchtime, have more electives to choose from, and are more likely to achieve athletic success.
Better Care And Treatment For Your Child
Among the most important benefits of private primary schools are better care and treatment. That specialized, exceptional care can be broken down into three main areas: academic, emotional, and physical.
Let’s start with the academic advantages. In private schools, your child will be in classes with a lower student-to-teacher ratio. What that translates into is teachers spending more one-on-one time with your children and going the extra mile to help them grasp difficult concepts. “In private schools, the class sizes are very small and can be as little as 10 students per teacher in some classes,” Moms.com writes. Plus, private institutions focus on academics. They have the know-how, resources, and decades of experience to help your child meet his or her full academic potential.
Importantly, private schools understand that intellectual health, emotional health, and physical health are closely related, even intertwined. That is why they keep top-rate child psychologists on staff. According to Harvard University, “Most potential mental health problems will not become mental health problems if we respond to them early.” Working with a child psychologist can teach kids healthy coping skills and mitigate or eliminate mood disorders and behavioral problems before they become severe. The benefits of private primary school are multifold and include careful attention to your child’s well-being, including his or her mental health.
The last piece of the puzzle is physical health. To ensure children stay healthy during these uncertain times, private schools are taking as many precautions as possible. To contend with the pandemic, schools are requiring teachers, students, and staff to wear face coverings. Teachers are instructing kids to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly and to sit spaced six feet apart — something that is much more practical at a private institution than at a cramped public school. Students are encouraged to stay at home and monitor their symptoms if they feel ill, and the school and classrooms are completely disinfected every single day. School disinfection services are working overtime to keep up with the demand and to keep your children safe.
High Quality Food
As previously touched on, the benefits of primary private schools are not limited to academics. Another way private schools ensure better learning outcomes is by promoting healthier lifestyles. One of the best ways to do that is by offering healthy and nutritious meals to all students.
According to The Partnership For A Healthier America, if children are obese by ages six to eight, they are 10 times more likely to grow into obese adults. Further, it is an unfortunate fact that obesity can have a direct negative impact on your child’s education. Research from the Health-Behaviours in School-based Children (HBSC) shows that obese children are bullied more and subsequently report more stress and “lower life satisfaction.” Low life satisfaction leads to poor academic performance and a notable lack of engagement in the classroom. The instructors and board members understand this link and take it to heart when designing academic programs and putting together cafeteria menus.
That is why lunchtime menus at private schools feature much healthier items and why these menus are more likely to resemble what you would find at a nearby restaurant than at a public school cafeteria. Chefs know that it is important to work with wholesome and healthy ingredients and to do it in a way that will appeal to young kids. For example, a typical menu item may be Margherita broccoli crust pizza with homemade sauce, and fresh vegetables rather than standard cafeteria fare, like cheeseburgers and fries. Talk to school administrators if your child follows a special diet, like a gluten-free or vegetarian diet. Many private schools have the freedom and resources to make the appropriate accommodations.
A Nurturing And Motivating Environment
A nurturing and motivating environment isn’t just about a school’s instructors. One of the many benefits of private primary schools is that administrators know that, when it comes to motivating and stimulating your child, their approach needs to be comprehensive. In fact, a comprehensive approach touches on some surprising areas, like art, decor, and seating. How do these things affect the ways your child learns?
Here are a few key things administrators and instructors know about the schooling environment:
- Just like there are benefits of art in the workplace, there are benefits of art in the classroom… with some stipulations. For instance, art in classrooms increases performance and engagement when that art includes students’ work, inspiring phrases or quotes, pictures of inspiring role models, and visual aids — items like maps, charts, and graphs that help reinforce important academic concepts.
- It is important for teachers to avoid clutter. Too much stimulation can be distracting for many children. “Keep at least 20% of your wall space clear, and leave ample space between displays so they don’t look disorganized,” the George Lucas Educational Foundation recommends. Private school teachers avoid piling on decorations. Instead, they swap them out periodically to reflect different lessons and seasons.
- All of us — especially children — need exposure to plenty of natural light. A well-lit classroom boosts academic performance. Children see the most improvement in reading and math. Plus, natural light helps promote healthy sleeping patterns. Children who get a full night’s sleep are less likely to experience difficulties in the classroom than their sleep-deprived peers, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
- Classroom seating arrangements make a difference. Just like office seating can affect employee performance, seating can have a considerable impact on children’s learning at school as well. Currently, teachers have the most success with two strategies: arranging seats to suit the activity or lesson at hand or adopting a flexible classroom model. When possible, teachers favor tailoring seating arrangements to the lesson or lessons in question. For a lesson with lively class discussion, a semi-circle or horseshoe model often works best. Teachers can further tailor this model by spacing desks six feet apart in alignment with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A flexible classroom incorporates different types of seating, including chairs, poufs, bean bag chairs, tables, and more. The idea is to mimic the seating children will find in real-world settings. These seats put them at ease and increase engagement. Of course, the global pandemic is at the front of instructors’ minds and all seating decisions prioritize children’s safety. More engaging models may be temporarily shelved or adjusted to accommodate appropriate social distancing.
The benefits of private primary schools are multi-faceted. Administrators consider the obvious, like academics and sports, as well as the not-so-obvious, like the impact of children’s learning environment.
Another one of the benefits of private primary schools is their flexibility. While administrators and teachers are still guided by state requirements, private institutions also have considerable freedom when it comes to what they teach.
Private schools have the capacity and capability to choose an area of focus. For example, some choose to center instruction around STEM or STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Others may focus on the arts, like theater and literature.
Still others may put a teaching philosophy at the center of their institution. “In schools that follow the popular Waldorf or Montessori programs, for example, children aren’t graded on performance and don’t study in a formal, structured classroom, particularly in the early years,” How Stuff Works writes. Further, other schools may center their lessons around a particular theme. If that week’s theme is space, for example, all math, reading, and science lessons will center around that week’s chosen topic.
Other schools focus on sportsmanship and athletic achievements. Another one of the benefits of private primary schools is that they have the resources to offer a greater variety of sports. Many focus on team-building sports, like rowing, or specific, skill-oriented sports classes, like sailing lessons.
Greater Resources To Support Athletic Success
Yet another one of the benefits of private primary schools is their razor-sharp focus on athletics. There are many students who do not simply want to play sports recreationally. Instead, they harbor dreams of meeting their full potential — whether that means competing across the nation, competing internationally, and/or earning a sports scholarship to play at their preferred college. For most students, private schools are the most straightforward means to make their dreams a reality. Why?
There are many benefits of private primary schools, especially when it comes to sports. Here are a few of the sports-related perks students enjoy:
- More variety. If football is not your child’s thing, private schools are more likely to have a wider variety of other options for your child to choose from. Private schools may offer traditional sports, like running, football, baseball, basketball, and lacrosse as well as less traditional sports, like rowing, sailing, archery, cricket, and fencing.
- All-important, one-on-one coaching. While many sports focus on teambuilding and playing as part of a team, many players or athletes must work on their individual shortcomings to excel at their chosen sport. That is where private schools and their low student-to-teacher ratio comes in. This low ratio enables coaches to spend one-on-one time with your child. During that time, they can give them strategies to improve and help motivate them to work through their particular struggles.
- Greater exposure to scouts. More scouts visit private schools than public schools. For decades, private schools have sent more athletes to play at the college level. As such, scouts are more likely to visit private institutions.
- Better sports medicine. One of the most important benefits of private primary schools is better sports medicine. Improperly treated sports injuries can hurt a student’s progress for weeks at a time, for an entire season, or even for the rest of their lives. With a greater number of athletes across a wider range of disciplines, private schools make certain to devote greater resources to sports medicine as well. Your child may be able to begin working with a physical therapist at school or be referred to an appropriate physical therapist, for example.
- On average, more private school students go on to play at the collegiate level than public school students.
What are the benefits of private primary schools? Are they really better than their public counterparts? In many ways, the answer is yes. Private schools have resources — and boast attention to detail — that public schools simply do not.
Give your child a leg up in the world. Choose a private primary school for their early childhood education. For the most possible benefit, enroll children in private preschool and private elementary school programs.