An education doesn't mean only academics. While private schools pride themselves on strengthening the mind, they also strive to strengthen the spirit.
Like many private schools, Matthew's Hall School, in London, Ontario, encourages 100 per cent participation to experience all the school has to offer, whether that be a spirit day, field trip or an extracurricular like a club or sports team. The school is even prepared to assist with finances if they threaten a child's ability to engage in activities.
Associate head of Matthew's Hall Janet Frame says social skills run in tandem with the academic curriculum, encouraging students to take risks, set goals and become a well-rounded, active and happy community member. And while a sense of competition is embraced in its right place, Matthew's Hall places greater emphasis on developing other qualities like a solid work ethic, perseverance and a good heart.
"Being first is naturally exclusive, which is the opposite of what we're about. We're very influenced by the idea of guiding children in moral ways, and developing universal values like empathy and compassion," she says. Sometimes students are even more empathetic than their instructors. Grade 8 student Tori, who serves as co-chief of the ambassador's club, insisted on a "Staff Appreciation Day" rather than focusing solely on teachers. She provided a piece of fruit and a card for everyone at the school, including the custodian and the lunch lady.
"It's fun to have a position at the school, you get to help the school have fun. Our school is a community, no one is left out," Tori says.