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Choosing a school based on children’s learning interests

Exploring your child's school fit based on their academic interests

When choosing a school for your child, it’s important to consider their learning interests: what academic areas do they enjoy? Here, we’ll discuss kids with two different academic interests—STEM and the arts—and what kinds of schools might be most suitable for them. 

To learn about how to choose the right school in general, read the Our Kids’ step-by-step advice guide and our expert tips. To get school-choice advice customized to your child's unique traits, create a child profile through your user account and read our seven ways to choose a school based on your child's needs (i.e., overall fitmore academic challengesocial strugglesacademic strugglesintensive learning interestsuniversity preparation, and special needs.). 

STEM- and arts-oriented kids’ school fit

Kids vary widely in their academic interests. Don’t underestimate the importance of this on school choice: it can profoundly affect the kind of learning environment, and hence school, that’s right for them. Below, we discuss how STEM- and arts-oriented kids fit in several school types.

STEM-oriented kids

STEM-oriented kids are passionate about at least two STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). They really enjoy STEM education and are eager to pursue more in-depth studies.

STEM-oriented kids’ school fit: key take-homes

  • Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more STEM programs, classes, and supplementaries than smaller schools. Small schools, meanwhile, often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, giving your child more freedom to pursue their interest in STEM, with close supervision.
  • 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.”
  • Many boys' schools have a special focus on STEM learning. They offer STEM courses and extracurriculars that will enable your son to pursue his passions and refine his skills.
  • Montessori schools’ child-centred, self-directed focus gives kids the flexibility to pursue their interests and dive deeply into STEM subjects. That said, ensure a school doesn’t allow your child to focus on these subjects to the detriment of others.
  • The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching science, math, and other STEM subjects is inquiry-based and involves lots of hands-on learning and exploration, which many kids find stimulating. 
  • Some students may find it challenging to learn STEM subjects in a second language, as they would in most language immersion schools

To access far more detailed information about STEM-oriented kids’ school fit, read our in-depth guide.

Arts-oriented kids 

Arts-oriented kids are passionate about the arts, whether it’s the performing arts, visual arts, or both. They really enjoy arts education and are eager to pursue more in-depth studies.

Arts-oriented kids’ school fit: key take-homes

  • Small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, which can give your arts-oriented child the freedom to pursue their creative interests with close supervision and guidance. Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff than smaller schools.
  • In a coed environment, your child can widen their perspective and enhance their creative development by learning from the experiences of boys and girls 
  • In a boys’ school, your son can pursue his interest in the arts in an environment potentially less shaped by gender stereotypes and false narratives, such as “girls are more suited to the arts than boys.”
  • If you’re considering a Montessori school for your arts-oriented child, make sure to look into its policies regarding the arts and creativity. The Montessori approach is not known for encouraging certain kinds of creative pursuits: for instance, many Montessori schools don’t include fiction in the curriculum or offer dedicated art classes (though they do encourage creativity in other ways).
  • Many arts-oriented children are curious and unconventional learners, and prefer more scope for creativity than language immersion schools sometimes allow.

To access far more detailed information about arts-oriented kids’ school fit, read our in-depth guide.

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