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Ages & Stages

Private or Religious Schools

Private and religious schools come in different sizes, philosophies, and affilia­tions. Parents consider a private or religious school for their child for many reasons: a particular educational philosophy and method of teaching; a repu­tation for high student achievement and academic success; a religious affilia­tion and an education with a religious orientation; a military orientation; or a family tradition. If you are deciding whether this type of school is right for your child, there are other issues to consider besides the factors mentioned above. For in­stance:

  • What are the expectations of the school's staff and students?
  • What are the educational styles and characteristics of the principal and teachers?
  • What is the student-teacher ratio?
  • What additional educational and student service resources—such as spe­cial education, nursing, physical and speech therapy, and audiology—are provided?
  • What safety and nutritional services are available?
  • Is financial assistance available to help meet tuition fees?

While comparing private/religious and public schools, other criteria may help you make your decision. Ask about licensing requirements for teachers, administrators, and health-care personnel, since they are sometimes less stringent in private and religious schools. Check to see whether the private or religious school has fewer resources and teachers trained specifically in art, music, physical education, guidance counseling, and special education. Deter­mine whether high tuition costs keep the private or religious school from at­tracting a mix of students from different backgrounds. Finally, find out if parents are required to make a substantial time commitment to volunteer at and fund-raise for the school.

Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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