The benefits of private day schools, boarding schools and dual program schools
There are more than 27 boarding schools in Canada accredited by Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) – 23 of which are also accredited by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS).
Some boarding programs start at grade six or seven, others at grade eight. Some are only for upper grades (nine through 12). Most schools also have programs for day students.
Whether a private day or boarding school is right for your child(ren) depends on many things: where you live, your circumstances – and of course, your individual kid.
Benefits of boarding
• very structured – set schedule for meals, classes, study/homework help, mandatory co-curricular activities
• close, lifelong friendships
• strong supervision
• independence (university won’t be the first time a kid is away from home, making that transition easier)
• time management – an essential life skill that’s valuable throughout life, personally and professionally
• study skills – easing the transition to post-secondary studies and increasing the chances of success
• time and energy not wasted in going home and back every day; for some day students, this can mean long bus rides
• everything’s on campus: meals, sleeping, co-curricular activities, health services, social circle; allows students to be fully immersed in school life, focussed on studies and interests
• students, teachers, parents working toward the same goal, who share positive school values
• family-like, team-centred ‘we’re in this together’ feeling
• positive, camp-like atmosphere (being able to share in many activities with peers, eat meals, live together in a dorm setting)
• peers who are motivated, focussed and engaged in doing well at school
• very commonly, better parent-child relationships – easing friction in the relationship in the adolescent years/more quality time when parents, children are together
• taking the stress off of parents – of overseeing school work, ferrying kids to and from extracurricular activities
• especially for kids from rural and less multicultural areas – the enriching experience of friendships with students from many countries
Schools with boarding and day programs
Some boarding schools have day programs because of the historical evolution of their school, and many have them to provide another option to the local community.
Sometimes, students start attending a school’s day program and later switch to boarding.
Schools may have options such as five-day boarding, so that students can go home on the weekends. And many schools have programs that let day students try boarding – for a week when their parents have to be away, for example.
Schools work to maintain a whole community, regardless of which program a student attends. They do this through special co-curricular activities, social functions and trips.
Some boarding schools have a house system. The student body is divided into houses which include day and boarding kids from all grades. Kids are loyal to their house and participate in friendly competitions with other houses for overall points, etc.
There may be family-style meals taken together during the day, in which kids from various grades sit at large tables with their designated, multi-year study group and advisory teacher.
Schools also ensure there are regular gatherings of the entire school community.
Benefits for a boarding school’s day students
• even when day students outnumber boarding students, the culture of boarding benefits them all: a family-like atmosphere, community cohesiveness, etc.
• opportunities to have friendships with the international students who attend boarding schools
• access to the vast co-curricular options typically available
Choosing a private day school with your child depends on the schools available where you live, his or her maturity level – and of course, financial considerations.
Benefits of day school
• far less cost
• parents close by in case of emergency
• more time spent between parents and child(ren)
• option of more extensive, regular parental involve-ment in the school
• student maintains a connection to their local community• easier to maintain friendships from earlier years; parents get to know each other
• as with boarding schools, teachers and parents all working toward the same goal and who share positive school values