Many families in Canada are turning to private and independent education. Searching for the right school is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, requiring committed preparation. With so many options to choose from, this decision can be overwhelming. Luckily, parents, you’re not alone.
We’ve put together a list of key tips to get started on picking the right school for your child. Once you’re ready, check out our list of Top Private Schools throughout Metro Vancouver and North Shore. Read on to begin your search!
1. Don’t look for the best school; look for the right fit
When it comes to private schools, it’s all about the right fit. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. What makes a school perfect for one child doesn’t necessarily make it the right choice for yours. Your child’s individual strengths and needs, your family’s circumstances, your education philosophy and vision, will all contribute to your choice of schools.
Private and independent schools are numerous and diverse. Each has specific objectives, goals, and values, and aims to meet specific learners’ needs. In fact, this is one of the virtues of private schools—they cater to specific types of children (and families), and often excel at doing this.
So, before you start flipping through attractive brochures or browsing websites, take the time to consider, as a family, what it is you are looking for in a school and why.
2. Do your initial research and visit the schools
Having a good base of information and knowledge about the private school landscape will help you make a choice that is right for you and your child. You want a school that’s the right academic fit for your child, but there’s more to schools than academics. They should also have a culture in which your child can thrive.
Make sure to find out as much as you can about a school’s culture—its community, social life, and values. Plan to visit each school you’re considering. Observing the school up close is a great way to gain valuable insight into its culture. Remember to involve your child in the school search process too, to determine the right fit.
3. Dig deep. Look beyond the school rankings
School rankings only tell us so much. While rankings reveal a school’s basic academic standings, they leave out its educational approach – including its curriculum and pedagogies, and how they teach learning skills (such as organization, time-management, and initiation) and ‘soft skills’ (such as critical thinking, problem-solving, resilience, and communication). They also don’t tell us anything about a school’s culture, community, support systems, resources, facilities, extracurriculars, and more.
Read the school profiles here on our Top Private Schools list. Dig deep into a school’s academic and social culture through on-campus visits. Make sure to ask lots of questions, talk to people in the school community, and involve your child in this whole process.
4. Trust that YOU are the expert
Ask yourself, “What’s most important to us?” Consider your family needs. Remember to also look to your child to find out what’s working in your child’s current school and what’s not working. Is there anything the child wishes they could do in school but hasn’t been able to?
The right environment supports those desires, addresses a child’s weaknesses, and builds on their strengths. When it comes to your child, no one can know those things better than you.
Now that you’re ready to begin, check out our list of Top Private Schools throughout Metro Vancouver and North Shore to find some of the best private and independent schools in the area!