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Big schools vs. small schools

Don't forget to include size on your list of criteria when choosing a school for your child. We provide some insight into choosing a small or large school.

Photo by Shawnigan Vinnick

Finding the Ideal School Size–Big Schools vs. Small Schools

Finding the right private school for your child will take equal parts research, patience, and honest assessment, plus prioritization of your child's needs and your requirements. Among various criteria to consider, school size is critical. School sizelarge, small or somewhere in betweenwill figure heavily into your child's success in a new environment.

Once you have conducted research on various schools, going on tours of your top choices will give you and your child a better sense of the school size most suitable to him or her.

Among essential questions asked while on tour should be: What is the student-to-teacher ratio and what is the maximum class size? Once assured that class size is controlled to ensure adequate attention, you can then assess how ideal the size of the school on a whole is for your child.

Consider the following possible advantages of each school size when making your choice:

Small School

  • Individually tailored approach to teaching and learning; more attention and support
  • Less bureaucracy; parents may more directly influence a child's educational progress and disciplinary measures
  • Smaller student numbers facilitate development of long-term friendships as well as leadership qualities
  • Lower student-to-teacher ratios and increased supervision lessen the risk of bullying at school
  • May be a better fit for children who are shy or introverted, or students who are marginalized in some way

Large School

  • Greater variety of programs to better suit your child's interests and needs (e.g., AP, IB, gifted, special needs)
  • Wider range of resources and "state-of-the art" equipment and technology
  • Better reputation with post-secondary institutions if school is well-established
  • More staff to deal with your child's various psycho-educational needs
  • Increased likelihood of offering a range of scholarships

In the end, the choice of a small school or a large one comes down to personal preference and expectations. Further illustrating the value of private school on the whole is Adam, who has found his small school, Royal St. George's College, invaluable in providing career and academic guidance, and several students from Upper Canada College, a larger private school, who had the opportunity to travel to Kenya to teach using the One Laptop Per Child computer.

While choosing the right private school for your child is a daunting task, it's not impossible! For more tips to help you make the ideal choice, visit: /blog/tips-on-finding-the-right-private-school-14243/.

To see the broad ranges of private schools available, go to our private school search engine.
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