Boarding school provides a unique educational experience, and many schools pride themselves on providing a holistic education that focuses on skills both inside and outside the classroom.
Most boarding schools have a close-knit community that is supportive and fun, with a large emphasis on academics, sports, arts and other extra-curricular activities.
Like any school, finding the right fit is very important. No two boarding schools are alike, and one boarding school may be a better fit for your child than others. If you are considering boarding schools then you should:
Of course, each student will have their own unique experience at any school, however when asked, students cite the following benefits as their favourite part of the boarding school experience:
"I've learned about myself. I've grown as a person; I'm more independent and outgoing. I've learned to take risks."– Caitlin, Havergal College
High quality academia is one of the universal aspects of boarding school. Boarding schools have a well-deserved reputation for expecting excellence from students and for producing students with self-discipline, keen intellectual development and uniquely sound work and study skills.
The boarding environment can be a key aspect in the development of these qualities with its complete immersion in studies and academics. Boarding schools also tend to have smaller class sizes and draw top-qualified, passionate instructors. In a 2010 survey, 60% of private school students said they chose boarding school because it offered the highest academic standards.
Most boarding schools offer supervised evening study periods to make sure that kids have access to homework help if they need it. Education goes far beyond the classroom, too, as students learn beyond the curriculum. For some of the students, it may be the first time they've done laundry. School staff and teachers will help guide your son or daughter navigate the roads of independence and give them support when they may need it.
There's a lot more to boarding school than just academics. In fact, many of the best athletes in history underwent critical development in boarding school. That's not all, either: there are top-notch music and drama programs, extracurricular clubs and loads of free time to hang out with fellow students, riff on life, learn from peers and grow together.
Strong social skills are an excellent byproduct of life in a boarding school. Shy youth might balk at the idea of attending boarding school but this environment encourages them to change and grow. They may not like that idea immediately but they appreciate the change later in life. Students develop maturity and independence, overcome limiting fears and shyness and create lifelong friendships.
It's important to consider what your goals are when you're deciding whether to send your child to a boarding school or not. If developing a sense of independence is a priority along with social interaction with other students from all over the world, then boarding schools are a good option. Regardless of what type of school you choose, it’s crucial to make sure you do your homework first.
Private school experts say parents should choose a school that belongs to a larger organization that guides and oversees the school because it suggests it has met certain criteria.
"Millions of opportunities are offered to you here, you just have to take the step to go for it and get it."–Emily, Trinity College School.
Boarding school offers a uniquely supportive environment. No other education environment presents readily available professional guidance around the clock.
Teachers are present on campus until curfew (or even after) and they are there to help. In fact, boarding school is a uniquely rigorous and demanding environment for teachers as well as students. Fellow students and peers are always there to share the load of personal challenges or double the joy of successes
If you want your child to become more independent, meet students from around the world and have an immersive educational experience, boarding schools can be a very appealing option.
One of the big benefits of boarding schools is the opportunity to develop independence and an excellent way to prepare for university.
Afra, a Grade 11 student at Bronte College in Mississauga, Ontario, says private school “gives you a chance to mature because you don't have parents breathing down your neck.” At the same time, she does miss her family back in Saudi Arabia. "The fact that you're away from home gets a bit tough sometimes, especially with the time difference."
Tam estimates that about 85 per cent of Bronte's students are international. Many parents choose Bronte because they want their children to graduate with an Ontario diploma and go on to North American universities. Since parents are so far away, Bronte faculty and staff often serve as parental-type figures.
"In a boarding school anyone over the age of 22 is viewed as a role model," says Tam. "We're supportive of parents, too. They can email us anytime and we'll take care of their concerns. We all understand that they are very far away, so we worry on their behalf.”