Which school is best for your child?
The 10 questions every parent needs to ask
The school your child attends will instill in him or her the core values, habits and beliefs your child will hold for the rest of his or her life.
Whether your child has special needs, you’re fed up with the public school system or you would simply like to consider alternatives, your family’s needs should come first. Every private school is unique, and finding the right fit is all about asking the right questions.
10. What are the facilities like?
A wise option would be to tour a few private schools before making a decision. Can you see your child excelling in the environment the school provides? Take note of the conditions of the classrooms, sports fields, gym and washrooms to be sure everything is up to standard.
9. Is the school religious or secular?
Many Toronto private schools, like De La Salle College and St. Michael’s College, were founded with a certain religion or philosophical stance in mind, so you may want a private school aligned with your vision.
8. What are the tuition fees, and is financial aid available?
Private schools costs can total well over $30,000, so consider your budget and inquire about financial aid. Schools often have funds set aside to assist families in need, so don’t rule out private school as an option because of financial concerns.
7. How long is the commute?
Drop-off and pickup times can be slow during rush hour, and if you opt for a downtown school, the commute could eat into your child’s homework or extracurricular time. Don’t forget to think about transportation times and costs.
6. Would my child love boarding school?
If you’re looking for a totally immersive experience for your child, a boarding school could be the right fit. Your child will benefit from personalized attention and will learn to function independently at a young age, setting him or her up for success later in life.
5. What size is the school?
Private schools in Toronto vary in size from tiny to large. If your child has special needs, a small school, like Shoore Centre for learning with only 60 students, could be a good fit, whereas a more social child could benefit from a larger school like Toronto French School with 1,230 students.
4. Will my child wear a uniform?
Is your child is a non-conformist, not interested in wearing the same thing as everyone else? Or maybe your child will love not having to pick out a new outfit every day. Uniforms are an important factor to consider when choosing a private school — after all, your child will be wearing it every day.
3. Is the school single-sex or coed?
Although single-sex schools may offer a more focused environment with fewer distractions, coed private schools, like the York School or Greenwood College School, could provide a more diverse environment where your child can build valuable social skills and learn about gender equality.
2. What about the International Baccalaureate program (IB) or Round Square?
Offered at Toronto private schools, like Branksome Hall, the IB program focuses on developing the intellectual and social skills required to build a career through rigorous academic courses. Round Square, which is offered at St. Clement’s School and Bayview Glen, provides students with a more experiential education.
1. Would a specialized stream suit my child?
Is your child artistically inclined, a science whiz or a jock? Your child might benefit from a specialized education in one of these areas. For example, Upper Canada College offers excellent athletic programs, and the Bishop Strachan School for girls tends to nurture the arts.
Consider everything from commute times to uniforms and academics when choosing a private school