The push for independence and autonomy is often the focus of the middle school years. At the same time they are facing increased academic challenges, these adolescents are facing greater social and emotional pressures. This can be a time of testing personal limits as well as the rules and structures around them.
Two of Nancy Evans' three children attend private schools. But she didn't consider enrolling them during their younger years in elementary school. "I truly love the local neighbourhood public schools for the elementary years. I think building that bond of neighbourhood and friendships is an important element of their education," she says.
Her son is in Grade 9, wrapping up his first year at Ridley College, while her daughter, who is in Grade 11, started at Bishop Strachan School in Grade 7. Her youngest son remains at a local public school in Grade 8.
Nancy believes that when children are starting private school for the first time as teenagers, the push needs to come from them. "A private school is such an individual choice and not every private school is right for every child."
It wasn't the superior quality of the education, but rather the array of extracurricular activities that compelled her to enrol her son at Ridley. "What really made the decision easier for us were the sports and programs offered through the private school. As a student, you must participate in sports and activities, and there truly is a sport or activity for everyone," Nancy says. "My son is the type who, if he isn't moving or busy doing something, is bored and unhappy. So Ridley has kept him busy and consequently he has had to organize his time to fit in all of his games around his school work."