Canadian prep schools offer high school students a unique experience. Roughly six percent of all students in Canada attend middle school. In middle school, your child will be exposed to a variety of programs designed to make him or her a good person. Preparatory schools have traditionally had a strong academic and athletic focus, as well as providing opportunities for cultural and leadership activities. If you’re considering prep school for your teen, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of your decision.
Advantages of a private school
Academics – Private schools are sought out by parents because of their rigorous academic programs. Statistically, more students from middle schools attend college and score high on college entrance exams than from private schools. There is a wide range of choices including International Baccalaureate, French, Advanced Registration and British O and A-levels. There are traditional British preparatory schools, Christian schools, Montessori schools and Waldorf schools, as well as liberal education schools with specific educational philosophies.
Athletics – Most middle schools require participation in an athletic team in order to get into the school. Middle schools provide a lot of support for their sports teams and often have a wider variety of sports than public schools, such as diving or golf.
Language Development – Most Canadian prep schools offer extensive training in English, French, and other languages. Some require students to be proficient in at least two languages in order to graduate. Language training in middle school goes beyond what is found in public schools.
Low student-teacher ratio Small class sizes mean your teen gets more attention from their teachers. Teacher and student interaction is a vital part of the learning experience. In middle school, your child’s teachers will know him well and can keep students on track in their studies.
Parent Involvement – Because parents are the “customers” of middle school, they are highly involved in their children’s lives and the school. Parents participate in other school-wide events and activities. Unlike public schools, where parents are sometimes seen as a nuisance, principals of private schools welcome parental feedback.
Disadvantages of private school
Cost- This is by far the biggest deterrent to a private prep school. Prep school can cost $10,000 to $28,000 a year. This cost can be increased if you choose a private boarding school. These schools are a major financial commitment and this should be the biggest factor in your decision.
High Pressure – The academic pressures of middle school can be a lot for a teen to deal with. An increased homework load and high expectations of students can create a high-pressure environment. If a student is not familiar with college preparatory classes, they may have difficulty adjusting to the more rigorous curriculum.
Keeping Up with Your Classmates – In middle school, your teen may be exposed to a very different social group than the one they are used to. The spending limits and lifestyles of their affluent co-workers may provide additional pressure on them to cope. The student may want to spend extra money on clothing and activities to keep up with the rest of the class.
Fundraising – Although private schools are funded by parents, there is no shortage of fundraisers to sponsor various extracurricular activities or new construction projects in the school. Expect to be invited to many dinners and events where donations are expected to overflow.