Lunchboxes are coming out of summer storage, school supplies are flooding stores, and new clothes are being bought. It’s back to school time in Georgia as more than 1.7 million students head to class in 181 public school districts and 867 private schools. Both public and private schools offer students many great academic opportunities and extracurricular activities. So, why do approximately 10% of children in the U.S. attend private school?
Some parents choose a private school education for their children because they value smaller class sizes, while others want more focus on their child’s specific learning needs. Still others want more recess time or less emphasis on testing. Often, private schools can meet these needs more easily than public schools can. In addition, some private schools cater to specific focus areas such as special needs, sports, art, religion, military or college-prep. All offer financial aid or scholarship opportunities to help some families attend their school of choice.
Families chose High Meadows for many reasons. They tell us they value having small class sizes and extensive outdoor time, how teachers are attuned to their children’s needs, and being part of our friendly and inclusive environment. They also like how the school encourages students to explore their interests. Similar to what’s offered in public schools, there are many opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, visual and performing arts, theater and community service projects.
Opportunity to Play and Learn Outdoors
One family whose daughter started at High Meadows in kindergarten last year wanted a school with outdoor education and an emphasis on play. They chose High Meadows for that reason along with how the school teaches kids to think independently. “I think High Meadows is the model of what early childhood education should be… a loving and protective community of caring adults where kids are free to be their weird bouncy selves with the freedom to discover their potential,” said mom Christy.
Teachers Know Students’ Needs
High Meadows teachers understand children’s various learning styles and adjust to fit those. They regularly provide feedback to students to foster both academic and social-emotional growth. They also communicate frequently with parents. A family whose daughter also started kindergarten last year was impressed by how quickly teachers got to know her personality and academic focus which was reflected in the narrative report, the school’s extensive written overview of a student’s work, progress and needs. “My daughter has been happy, has encountered challenges which she has worked through with caring and emotionally-supportive teachers and has been challenged to try new things,” said mom Saren.
A Friendly and Inclusive Environment
An inclusive environment at a private school is a big draw for many families. “We knew several current and former High Meadows students who were kind, friendly, inclusive, talented and happy,” said mom Michelle, whose daughter loved her shadow day at the school. “The students in her class ended the day with an exercise called ‘Acknowledgements’ where each student recognizes another for something good they did.” Several students acknowledged her daughter for the courage to try out a new school. That inclusiveness was a game changer for her daughter who decided to transition to High Meadows in 7th grade.
While the reasons a family chooses High Meadows (or any private school) many vary, all benefit from the school’s focus on discovery, adventure and play that combines with experiential learning and academic pursuits. Students graduate as self-advocates and are well-prepared for the next step in their education.