One of the most important questions that parents face is how to educate their child. The first fundamental choice that must be made is whether to opt for a public or private school. Private schools can be more expensive, and it is true that there are many Dutch public schools that do an excellent job of educating their students. So, is the financial investment required for private schools really worth it?
One major advantage of private education is that your child will likely be challenged to a greater degree and be held to a higher academic standard. Compared to Dutch public schools, private schools provide additional challenging educational experiences through extracurricular activities, field trips, worldwide renowned curricula such as the International Baccalaureate programme and programs for gifted children.
Studies show that private school students have brighter academic prospects than public school students, allowing most of the students to attend the university of their choice.
Leaders of Tomorrow
Private schools help to prepare students for the future by going beyond offering the mandatory subjects required by national Dutch curriculum. They offer academically rigorous curricula that also incorporate tough-to-teach skills like critical thinking, collaboration and proactiveness. Private schools adapt quickly to changes in technology and culture and are responsible for producing many leaders in politics, business and society.
Additional learning resources
Another advantage of private schools is that they are often better equipped to offer families high quality on-campus and remote learning experiences and the choice and flexibility to move between the two. Private schools tend to have lower student-to-teacher ratios and more campus and classroom spaces to break students and teachers into small pods. They also have the resources to invest in the technology and professional development to support teachers.
Culture and Values
It can often be easier to find a private school that aligns with your family’s values and incorporates them into its everyday curriculum. There are many different types of private schools – day school or boarding school, religious or non-denominational, co-ed or single sex – and, unlike other school choices, private schools are usually mission driven with their own unique philosophy.
Private schools often tend to have an international community vibe and value diversity. According to a Fraser Institute survey (2007), 62% of parents with children in the private school system believe their school’s environment is motivating, supportive and nurturing. Former students repeatedly report that the friendships they formed in private school have lasted post-graduation. A strong sense of pride is often instilled in private school alumni, creating rich networking opportunities upon entering the workforce.
Private schools tend to focus on limiting their class sizes allowing them to offer individualized education based on your child’s needs. They have the flexibility to effectively challenge each student while also instilling a love of learning. As a result, students feel confident and assured in their academic abilities throughout their learning journey. This “freedom within a framework” engages students, taps into their natural curiosity and stokes their desire to learn, creating lifelong learners who thrive in school and beyond.
Small class sizes
With lower student-to-teacher ratios, private school teachers can tailor their lessons to their students’ unique skills, interests, passions and curiosities. Small class sizes also allow teachers to develop close relationships with their students, which is key to their intellectual and emotional growth and learning. A close teacher-student relationship helps students feel known, understood, believed in and challenged to be their best.
In their study the Fraser Institute (2007) states that 91% of parents surveyed said the dedication of the teachers was their main reason for choosing private school. Teachers are both qualified and passionate about their subjects, often holding advanced degrees in their field.
Importance of soft skills
Soft learning skills like respect, empathy, self-control and cooperation that are integral to both academic achievement and success in life are recognized by private schools. The importance of these soft skills are more often build it into their curriculum rather than treating it as an add on. This creates an environment where students feel secure knowing their classmates value compassion and respect; perform better academically because they can practice self-control; and become the best versions of themselves because they feel more confident.
Sources and further reading:
● tcsatl.org - Advantages of a Private School Education
● privateschoolreview.com - Why Private School?
● ourkids.net - Benefits of Private Schools