SPONSORED BY: The Elgin Academy Difference | SEASPAR | Immaculate Conception Grade School | Cyril and Methodius Catholic School (See below)
From the moment our kids are born, we’re tasked with deciding what’s best for them. All that decision-making can be exhausting. So we caught up with experts in the field of education to help you make an informed decision when it comes to one of the most important choices of all—your child’s education.
We asked why parents should consider private school. Here’s what they had to say.
One of the greatest strengths of any private school is smaller class sizes. At many private schools, smaller classes ensure each child is being met where they are at and encouraged to meet their potential. “Every child is known and loved in a safe environment that is more conducive to learning by way of smaller class sizes, more challenging curriculum and more individualized attention and teaching,” said Holly Peterson, a parochial school principal.
Meanwhile, in the age of information, it’s becoming increasingly more important to give children the skills to think for themselves when consuming social and news media. According to Peterson, who has over three decades of experience in education, “Small class sizes and individualized instruction give students the ability to become critical thinkers.”
Social-emotional learning (SEL) gives children the skills to manage their own emotions so that they can ultimately make better decisions and be better citizens. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, it’s based on five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
And data show it’s effective.
According to a 2011 meta-analysis published in Child Development, students who were exposed to school-based SEL curricula demonstrated notable improvements in social and emotional skills and behaviors as well as improved academic performance. Meanwhile, a 2017 Society for Research in Child Development study showed that children who participated in school-based SEL programs had higher graduation rates and safer sexual behavior than their peers, even 18 years post-intervention.
Many private schools emphasize SEL curricula. At Temple Grandin School, which focuses on neurodiverse students, SEL is valued just as much as academics. “Of equal importance [to academics] is integrated social-emotional learning, so their children can develop meaningful friendships,” said Lea Anne Paskvalich, the school’s director of admissions and public relations. Similarly, at the Waldorf schools, there’s a focus on creating “a student-focused environment for the whole child,” said Ruth Godberfforde, the Director of Advancement at a Waldorf school. She described an emphasis on “the academic, social-emotional and the physical,” or “head-heart-hands” that is foundational to every aspect of the Waldorf curriculum.
Oftentimes, parents gravitate toward private education because of the extracurricular activities it offers. Because private schools tend to specialize in specific areas (e.g. math and science or the arts), students get to enjoy more specialized afterschool activities. That said, private school can also offer opportunities for a wide range of extracurriculars. According to Susan Boyle, the director of admission and marketing at a prep school, the chance to expose kids to a wide array of experiences, starting at a young age, is a key advantage of private school. She listed a diverse range of activities kids can participate in, including world language, visual and performing arts, and science/STEM.
One of the top reasons many parents choose private school is the strong community it offers. According to Tom Mecsey, the principal at a Catholic school, “The community and level of parental involvement in private schools is very special. Families who choose this option often have a lot in common, as they have made an intentional decision to send their child to a particular school (often for similar reasons) rather than base it on a neighborhood, etc.” Meanwhile, he says, that enhanced sense of community fosters deepens children’s learning experiences. “We have found that there tends to be greater parental interest and involvement in the day-to-day activities of their children. This, in turn, fosters greater communication,” Mecsey explained. “The communication between school and home enables the school to be more responsive to students’ needs.”
By Pam Moore
The Elgin Academy Difference
Elgin Academy is a Preschool through Grade 12 independent school that takes education to a new level. Education is constantly evolving. While many changes have been positive, others have diminished the personal nature of learning. Class sizes reaching 30 students per teacher, back-to-back classes with few or no breaks, and one-size-fits-all classes are commonplace in 2021. But NOT at Elgin Academy. To arrange a personal tour or for more information, call 847.695.0303 or visit www.elginacademy.org.
SEASPAR is a special recreation association offering therapeutic recreation programs and services – including 2 multi-sensory room – for people with disabilities served by the park districts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Westmont, and Woodridge, and the villages of Brookfield, Indian Head Park, and Western Springs. Visit SEASPAR.org or call 630.960.7600 for more information about our year-round programming for all ages and all abilities!
Immaculate Conception Grade School
As an educational ministry of Immaculate Conception Parish, we partner with parents to prepare students for lives as Catholic leaders. As Christians empowered by the Holy Spirit, we focus on formation through prayer, message, concern, and service to the community. We teach students to live lives that embody these values, are centered in Christ, and strive for their greatest academic potential. We invite you to schedule a tour and take a closer look. Pre-K 3 through 8th Grade. Contact: Mrs. Sheila Wachholder, Office Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for 2022-2023 is Now Open. Address: 132 Arthur Street, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126. 630.530.3490 www.icgradeschoolelmhurst.org
Cyril and Methodius Catholic School
Cyril and Methodius School provides an excellent Catholic education from Pre-K through 8th grade in a compassionate environment that strives to develop each student spiritually, academically, physically, and emotionally. In 2019, SSCM was awarded a National Blue Ribbon, which is a trademark of excellence in education. This prestigious recognition is only awarded to 50 non-public schools throughout the nation. Our Philosophy is to guide each child to realize their unique talents and fulfill his/her potential. Our goal is to enrich and develop each student through Catholic Faith by promoting self-esteem, discipline, common sense, and courtesy in a positive, healthy, respectful and safe environment. 607 Sobieski St, Lemont. (630) 257-6488. www.school.stcyril.org
Suburban Family’s “Super Summer Camps”
For advertising information on Suburban Family’s “Super Summer Camps” source appearing in the March/April and May/June 2022 issues, please call 630-863-7103.