Tips on finding the right private school

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Some find the search for the right car difficult, while others agonize over their next vacation spot! Deciding what to have for dinner can even cause consternation.

Now imagine trying to choose the place where your children will spend the majority of their time for the next few years. The place where they will build their main social circle, where their personalities develop and their futures are built. That's the dilemma facing parents looking for the perfect private school to give their kids the education they deserve.

Toronto School Expo parents

Then, another valuable resource is a school's own website which can give parents a feel for the school's philosophy, academic programs and extracurricular activities. Photos and virtual tours can give almost a first-hand sense of the school grounds, and event calendars and community pages help families understand the community.

Remember, it's never too early to start considering private school options. The earlier you start researching, the better chance you have at getting into the one of your choice. You'll also be more financially prepared.

3. Attend a Private School Expo

Expos bring together school representatives from all over to give parents a one-stop opportunity to get face-to-face explanations of their unique approach to learning. Some expos even feature expert seminars to cover a variety of related topics, like how to finance a private education, tips on how to choose the right school, and the different types of schools like boys, girls, or boarding. Make the expo a family event so your kids can interact with administrators and students, and ask their own questions. It also gives you an opportunity to network with other parents in the private school search.

Further resources: Choosing a private school | Private school questions | Choosing the best preschool | Choosing the best special needs school | Choosing the right school - expert advice

4. Visit the School

By now, families should have a list of two to three schools that match their needs. Now it's time to see how your child fits in with the school community; what truly makes it unique. The atmosphere of a school cannot be truly understood unless a parent and child physically experience it themselves, so families should either contact the school to arrange a personal tour or check school calendars for open house dates. The school visit is also a time to speak with principals, teachers, counsellors, and other students to get information from different perspectives. You can also ask for the names and numbers of current parents or alumni, whom you can contact as references.

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