Within the Ontario private school realm, there are two major school types parents must choose from: enrolling their child in either a day school or a boarding school. There are certainly benefits and drawbacks associated with each category, so allow me to deconstruct the two camps of supporters.
When considering each type of school, there are three factors that will influence your decision: social, financial, and educational.
The majority of day schools offer coeducation, which is considered to be highly favourable for a child’s positive development and growth. Classroom interaction between the sexes from an early age onwards has been cited as critical for the upbringing of a functional member of society by preparing them for real-world integration amongst their opposite sex peers. Proponents of the single-sex curriculum that is found in boarding schools argue irreconcilable learning differences between boys and girls means that different teaching methods are not only required, but only possible in a single-sex classroom. However, while it is true that boys and girls demonstrate learning differences, the American Psychological Association notes that “there’s little empirical evidence showing that sex-segregated classes improve educational outcomes”. This is an important conclusion which argues that changing the student composition of the classroom is not a factor that influences students’ learning!
Other important social factors to keep in mind when choosing a school type are family interaction and community involvement. Maintaining in-person family interaction on a day-to-day basis can be a great source of “de-stressing” for a student. When you remove a child from their home environment and place them in a boarding school, homesickness can be a potent source of negativity in a child’s life and inhibit the otherwise positive effects of complete educational immersion. While it is true that students can often return home on the weekends and holidays, the boarding school experience cannot replicate the familial support otherwise maintained at a day school. As a parent, you should also ask yourself: how would I feel about not seeing my child every day after work?
Please keep an eye out for the next part of this series, and let me know in a comment what YOUR thoughts are.