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Is a girls' school right for your daughter

Exploring the potential fit of an all-girls school for several different types of girls


In finding the right school, you’ll need to look at both the school and your child. Here, we look at the fit of eight different girl types in girls-only schools. Note: our aim isn’t to tell you whether a girls’ school is right or wrong for any type of girl, but to highlight some vital child-specific factors you should consider when making your decision.

To learn about how to choose the right school in general, read the Our Kids step-by-step advice guide and questions to ask private schools. To get school-choice advice customized to your child's unique traits, create a child profile through your user account


How several different types of girls fit in all-girls schools

On this page:

Extroverted

In a girls-only school, your extroverted daughter can interact with different peer groups free from the distractions of a boy-girl environment. She’ll be able to focus on finding like-minded peers and pursuing a wide range of social opportunities without the intense pressure of having to navigate relationships with the other gender. This can help her engage with her studies and potentially thrive socially. 

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of extroverted kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Introverted

In a girls-only school, your introverted daughter can focus on her studies free from the distractions of a boy-girl environment. She may also find it easier to find a close group of friends without the intense pressure that goes with interacting with and navigating relationships with the other gender.

In fact, some girls blossom in an all-girls setting. “When she first started, she never raised her hand and didn't want to try anything new,” says Catherine Wang, mother of Skyler, a student at an all-girls school. “And now coming out of this first year, she's happy, she’s excited, and enthusiastic to try new things. She’s willing to put up her hand. She’s getting in front of people and doing oral presentations and school plays.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of introverted kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Highly focused

In a girls-only school, your daughter can focus on her studies without having to negotiate the social complexities and intense pressure of a boy-girl environment, which can be a big distraction for some girls, even mentally focused ones.

Also, “Confidence and self-esteem can be significant benefits of girls’ schools,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “A girls’ school may promote a sense of security and comfort, which can allow girls to feel confident in their learning environment and more comfortable taking an academic risk.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of highly focused kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Distractible

In a girls-only school, your daughter can focus on her studies without having to negotiate the complexities of a boy-girl environment. Since boy-girl relations can be especially distracting for less focused girls, this can help your daughter engage more fully with her studies.

Also, “Confidence and self-esteem can be significant benefits of girls’ schools,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Girls' schools may promote a sense of security and comfort, which can allow girls to feel confident in their learning environment and more comfortable taking academic risks.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspective of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of distractible kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Very physically active

Girls’ schools enable your daughter to participate in physical activities in an environment less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives such as “boys are better than girls at sports.” In fact, various studies conducted by the National Association for Choice in Education show that girls, in a girls-only environment, are more likely to seek out and excel in traditional boy-centric activities, such as sports. That said, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspective of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of very physically active kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Less physically active

Girls’ schools enable your less active daughter to pursue physical activities free of gender-stereotypical segregation, e.g., where more boys may participate in sports, or more girls participate in dance. She also won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can be very challenging, especially for girls on the shy or introverted side. In this lower pressure environment, your daughter can focus on her studies and on finding a group of like-minded friends.

In fact, some girls blossom in an all-girls setting. “When she first started, she never raised her hand and didn't want to try anything new,” says Catherine Wang, mother of Skyler, a student at an all-girls school. “And now coming out of this first year, she's happy, she’s excited, and enthusiastic to try new things. She’s willing to put up her hand. She’s getting in front of people and doing oral presentations and school plays.” 

To access our report on the fit of less physically active kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Intensively academically-focused

In a girls-only school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities and pressure of a boy-girl environment. This can help her focus on her studies and pursue her interests free of some potential distractions.

Also, “Confidence and self-esteem can be significant benefits of girls’ schools,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “A girls’ school may promote a sense of security and comfort, which can allow girls to feel confident in their learning environment and more comfortable taking an academic risk.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspective of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of intensively academically-focused kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Less academically-focused

In a girls-only school, your daughter can focus on her studies without having to negotiate the complexities of a boy-girl environment. Since boy-girl relations can be a distraction, this can help your less academically-focused daughter focus more attentively on her school work. Also, “Confidence and self-esteem can be significant benefits of girls’ schools,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “A girls’ school may promote a sense of security and comfort, which can allow girls to feel confident in their learning environment and more comfortable taking an academic risk.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a broader scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspective of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of less academically-focused kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Arts-oriented

In a girls' school, your daughter can focus on her studies in a low-pressure setting, where she won’t have to negotiate boy-girl relations. In a safe, girls-only environment, she’s likely to feel more comfortable exploring her creative passions and taking artistic chances. What’s more, “An all-girls school allows girls to carefully examine gender roles and stereotypes through artistic expression,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “In a drama production, for instance, they can play both female and male roles and critically analyze gender roles in society.”

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her many opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of arts-oriented kids in several different school types, read our guide.


STEM-oriented

Girls’ schools enable your daughter to pursue her interest in STEM subjects in an environment potentially free of gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better than girls at math.” Various studies conducted by the National Association for Choice in Education show that girls, in a girls-only environment, are more likely to explore and excel in traditional boy-centric subjects, such as math and science. Also, without the pressure of opposite-gender dynamics, many girls feel more comfortable aiming high and taking academic risks.

That said, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so he can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of stem-oriented kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Gifted

In a girls-only school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities and pressure of a boy-girl environment, which can help her focus on her studies. Also, in an environment often less shaped by gender stereotypes, such as “boys are more suited to math and science than girls,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her learning interests. “She may also feel more comfortable taking academic risks, which can give her the confidence needed to shine in uncharted waters,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners.

Of course, since your daughter won’t be learning with boys, aim to give her opportunities to interact with them outside of school, so she can gain a wider scope of social experiences, where she’ll learn from the perspectives of girls and boys.

To access our report on the fit of gifted kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Special needs

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated special needs class, an integrated class, or a regular class with adaptations and resource support. Keep in mind, however, that “Generally, these schools look for girls who don’t require modified academic programs, and who can function independently in the classroom,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. Ask about school resources that can support your daughter’s development, such as academic and psychological counselling, faculty advisors, tutoring, and homework support.

Of course, in a girls’ school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her focus on her work free from potential distractions. Also, in an environment often less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better than girls at math and science,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her learning interests and gain the confidence needed to shine in uncharted waters.

To access our report on the fit of special needs kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Learning disabilities

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated class, integrated class, or regular class with resource support. Bear in mind, however, that “Normally, these schools look for girls who don’t require modified academic programs and who are capable of working independently,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. Ask about school resources that can support your daughter’s development, such as academic and psychological counselling, faculty advisors, tutoring, and homework support. 

Of course, in a girls’ school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her focus on her work free from potential distractions. Also, in an environment often less influenced by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better than girls at math and science,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her passions and carve out a unique developmental path.

To access our report on the fit of learning disabilities kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Social/emotional issues

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated special needs class, an integrated class, or a regular class with adaptations and resource support. Keep in mind, however, that “Most of these schools look for girls who are independent and don’t require intensive support to function in the classroom,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. For instance, a girl struggling with severe clinical anxiety is unlikely to be a good candidate for admission.

Of course, in an all-girls’ school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her better focus on her work. Also, in an environment often less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better than girls at math and science,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her learning passions and take academic risks.

To access our report on the fit of social/emotional issues kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Conventional learner

Some girls’ schools cater to conventional learners, offering teacher-led instruction, textbook-based learning, and plenty of structure. Others, especially those with smaller classes, have a more student-focused teaching and learning approach, with lots of independent learning and group work. 

To determine whether your daughter is likely to be a good fit, ask specific questions:

  • Do you provide whole-class lectures?

  • How much direct instruction do you offer?

  • Do girls learn at roughly the same pace?

  • How structured is the daily schedule and what does it look like?

Since preferences differ even among conventional learners, ensure a school’s curricular approach is tailored to meet your daughter’s unique learning needs. For instance, if she prefers textbook-based learning combined with some independent and group work, confirm whether this is offered.

To access our report on the fit of conventional learner kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Unconventional learner

Many girls’ schools cater to unconventional learners, with a student-centred curriculum and plenty of independent learning opportunities. Some also stress interaction and collaboration in the classroom, which many unconventional learners enjoy. Of course, since girls’ schools vary in their teaching and learning approaches, ask questions to determine whether your daughter is likely to be a good fit.

Girls’ schools enable your daughter to explore her academic interests in an environment potentially freer of gender stereotypes and false narratives such as “boys are better than girls at math.” Various studies conducted by the National Association for Choice in Education show that girls, in an all-girls environment, are more likely to explore and excel in traditional boy-centric subjects, such as math, science, and physical education. And, without the pressure of opposite-gender dynamics, many girls feel more comfortable aiming high and taking academic risks.

To access our report on the fit of unconventional learner kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Independent learner

Girls’ schools vary in their emphasis on independent learning. Some have a student-focused learning model, which gives girls plenty of opportunities to pursue their specific interests. Others prioritize conventional teaching and learning, with more teacher-led instruction. Yet others offer a highly interactive, collaborative learning environment, with less independent learning.

Most girls-only schools recognize that learning styles differ widely, even within a single gender.

Ask a school how it meets the learning needs of girls, and how it will meet your daughter’s needs. Don’t be afraid to be specific: For instance, “I have a daughter with ADHD who likes to do things her way. What strategies will you use to teach her math?”

To access our report on the fit of independent learner kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Collaborative learner

Many girls’ schools emphasize collaborative and group learning. This often involves plenty of interaction, discussion, and open-ended inquiry. “Just ask a school how it meets the learning needs of girls, and how it will meet your daughter’s needs,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Education. “Most girls’ schools recognize that learning styles vary widely, even within a single gender.”

Also, in a girls-only school, your daughter can seek out and interact with different peer groups without having to navigate boy-girl interactions. She’ll find it easier to focus on finding like-minded peers and to pursue social and learning opportunities without the intense pressure of having to interact and negotiate relationships with boys.

To access our report on the fit of collaborative learner kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Anxious

Make sure a girls’ school provides the right environment for your anxious daughter. Depending on the type and severity of her anxiety, she’ll likely need smaller classes, lots of one-on-one guidance, and perhaps out-of-class support (such as in-house counselling or psychotherapy). 

“Girls’ schools tend to have a strong understanding of the common causes and triggers of anxiety in girls,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “This gives them special insight into how to support anxious girls.” 

Also, in a girls-only school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl relations, which can help her stay on track in her studies.

To access our report on the fit of anxious kids in several different school types, read our guide.


ADHD

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated special needs class, an integrated class, or a regular class offering one-on-one support and personalized learning. “Most of these schools, however, look for girls who are independent and don’t require intensive support to function in the classroom,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. If your daughter has severe ADHD, some girls’ schools likely won’t be able to accommodate her. 

Of course, in an all-girls’ school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her stay focused on her studies. Also, in an environment often less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better at math and science than girls,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her learning interests and shine in unchartered waters.

To access our report on the fit of adhd kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Autistic

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated special needs class, a class with breakout groups, or a regular class with personalized instruction and plenty of one-on-one support. “Most of these schools, however, look for girls who are independent and don’t require intensive support to function in the classroom,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. If you have a daughter with severe autism, some girls’ schools likely won’t be a good fit. 

Of course, in an all-girls’ school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her focus on her studies. Also, in an environment often less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better at math and science,” she may feel freer to pursue her learning passions and shine in unchartered waters.

To access our report on the fit of autistic kids in several different school types, read our guide.


Dyslexic

Make sure any girls’ school provides the right learning environment for your daughter, whether this is a dedicated class or regular class with extra resource support. Small- to medium-sized classes with lots of structure and one-on-one support are a minimum requirement. Also, ask about school resources that can support your daughter, such as academic and psychological counselling, faculty advisors, tutoring, and homework support. 

Of course, in a girls-only school, your daughter won’t have to negotiate the complexities of boy-girl interactions, which can help her focus on her work free from potential distractions. Also, in an environment often less influenced by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “boys are better at math and science,” your daughter may feel freer to pursue her passions and stake out a unique developmental path.

To access our report on the fit of dyslexic kids in several different school types, read our guide.

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