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Educational philosophies at private schools

The diverse range of educational philosophies a distinguishing feature of private education

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Each private school has its own qualities to offer, but behind every school is the appeal of a one-of-a-kind educational experience. Parents can choose based on a school's unique values and methods and determine the school that is best for their child; students gain the developmental boost of a distinctive education.

Private and independents schools are more flexible and able to respond to the needs of the children and parents because they are a smaller organization

To Sharon Reib, the director of the River Valley School (RVS), a Montessori school in Calgary, Alberta, an educational philosophy encompasses the way a school views children, the role of the teachers and the curriculum the school offers. At RVS, parents have the option to enrol their child in either their progressive program with enriched music, gym, art and French classes, or their certified Montessori program, which integrates children across age groups in self-directed learning. The hands-on materials they use give students the foundation in key subjects, but also help them grow in curiosity, self-motivation, respect and global awareness.

Often schools are structured around provincial educational standards, as is RVS, so students are able to move between schools easily and receive provincially recognized diplomas. Private and independents schools are more flexible and able to respond to the needs of the children and parents because they are a smaller organization.

"By the nature of being a private school, we're enormously responsive. We need to be. Parents have chosen us over all other schools for a reason and we need to stay true to who we are," Reib says.

And what does all this mean to the students? Well, to RVS Grade 4 student Mark, it just makes for a fun day at school.

"It's really great because we have a whole bunch of fun stuff to do. In math, we learn division which is really fun, and so is multiplication. I usually don't want the day to end," he says.

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