Summer is the perfect time to consider where to send your child to preschool. In today’s world, there are many options throughout the year for learning opportunities. Sometimes there are so many options that it is easy to get lost in the decision making process! Here are a few tips to help you decide.
Private schools serve over 5.3 million children in grades Pre- Kindergarten through 12 throughout the country. There is some debate over the respective benefits of preschool programs, and just as much confusion over whether private schools are preferable to public.
What Separates a Private School From a Public One?
There are over 30,800 private preschools in the U.S., and about 80% of those have some religious affiliation. Private schools are not run by the state, but often by a board of supervisors. The curriculum usually has a focus on a specific area while meeting basic educational guidelines.
Private schools have a tuition, just as colleges do. That is the biggest consideration for many parents when considering their options. While it is certainly not the final deciding factor, it can help to know that a 529 education plan can be used to pay for some private school costs. The public school system is easy to navigate, as the state takes responsibility for the education of each child. Private schools leave some of the choices up to the parents.
What is the Curriculum Like For Private School?
Public schools are subjected to state regulations. This is evident in standardized testing for grades three to 12 each year. A common complaint of the parents of school children is that teachers are forced to teach for the test. This accusation means that the focus is not on actual learning, but instead devoted to improving students’ test scores. This is a steep allegation. But it has enough credence to encourage many parents to put their children in private schools.
The benefit of private schools is that parents can have more of a say in what is being emphasized in the classroom. Some schools do have religious beliefs included in the daily curriculum. Other schools want to place an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) discipline. Some private schools are known for their extensive music background. These options are great for children who show an interest in one specific area.
Is There a Possible Downside to Private Schools?
The only issue that sometimes pops up when it comes to private schools is accreditation. All schools need to teach children certain skills so that they may advance to the next level of learning. The concern is that children might attend a private school that does not teach the same benchmarks as a public school. A child who switches from an unaccredited private school to a public one over the summer may then be behind their grade level.
The simple fix for this is to only enroll your children in a private school that still meets the requirements of a public school. This doesn’t mean the school cannot place an emphasis on one area, such as music or STEM, just that the school does not neglect the other general educational topics.
If you are considering enrolling your child in a private school, take the summer to do your research. There are some clear benefits to private schools, but it is important to make sure your choice prepares students for progressive learning. Changes do occur, and it would be a hassle if your child later switches to a public school and has trouble proving their previous education.