A Yorkshire Academy parent once said, “I knew finding the right college would be difficult, but I had no idea that would also be the case in choosing the right elementary school.” Parents, understandably, often question if paying for private school is worth the expense. The appropriate response would be, ‘it depends on the school’. There is a myriad of Houston private and public school options available and it can be an overwhelming endeavor to decide what the best option is for your children.
Private School vs. Public School?
Private school offers students a secure environment with more choices for children to experience diverse educational opportunities. While private schools administer standardized testing to their students, it is as a guide for schools to know that their curriculum is on track and their students rank well nationally, but it does not dictate their general approach to teaching.
“As your child begins private education, you are entering a special community of parents concerned with providing the finest possible preparation for their children’s futures. Private schools have served American families since the 17th century — often preceding the first public institutions. Competition between these two types of schools has strengthened both, while guaranteeing that families like yours have meaningful alternatives when it comes to education. What makes private schools unique? Each was founded by an individual or group with a clear and distinct approach to education — a mission. As a result, you can choose the school whose mission matches your child’s needs.” Source: Independent School Management (ISM)
The National Public Opinion Poll of Perceptions of Independent Schools, commissioned by the National Association of Independent Schools, found that “independent schools are seen as the most different in offering a more personalized, customized education, and an environment that is civil and controlled. Small class sizes, individualized attention, values, manners, and discipline are the most important factors describing differences between public and independent schools.”
Private schools are different in that….
- Students generally do more homework, watch less television, and read more than their public school counterparts (US Department of Education study)
- A greater percentage of students participate in the arts, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.
- Achievement, hard work and study are typically valued by all members of the community.
- Teachers interact with students in all aspects of school life and not just in the classroom.
- They promote critical thinking and a love of learning.
- Teachers have greater instructional latitude.
- The schools emphasize ethical behavior and good citizenship.
- Students are expected to be well-mannered and disciplined.
- Emphasis is placed on communication between school and home.
- Most are funded privately through tuition and charitable contributions.
- Source: HAIS website
Which Houston Private School?
If parents decide private school is their choice, the question remains, ‘which one is the right choice for my child(ren)?’ Every private school has its niche, and really the only way to determine which is the ideal fit for your family is to visit many schools. At Yorkshire Academy, we encourage families to visit a variety of schools before they make their final decision. Websites and marketing materials are wonderful tools to aid your decision, but there is no substitute for a personal tour.
Keep in mind that recommendations from friends and family can be helpful, but we have seen that while families may have the same taste in houses, cars, and vacations, when it comes to school choice it can be vastly different.
Why Yorkshire Academy?
So what is Yorkshire Academy’s ‘claim to fame’? Basically, we specialize in private school education for children 18 months–5th grade. While families often ask us to expand into middle school, we have held that there are huge advantages in building a challenging and enriching environment for just elementary and younger students. Students thrive in a school where everyone on the staff knows their name, the academics are ambitious, the enrichment classes first-rate, and the class size is small. We see a benefit in a culture that is nurturing and safe, while at the same time challenging and diverse. Some families choose a bigger school which allows for their children to start from an early age and stay until high school. That may be convenient, but there is so much value when younger students can stay to become ‘the big kids on campus’ and enjoy all that that entails, and then benefit from the transition experience into middle school.
In addition to Yorkshire Academy’s regular school program, we offer before- and after-school care, an extensive afterschool program offering such classes as Chinese, soccer, piano, tae kwon do, robotics, chess, Math Club, as well as a comprehensive academic and enrichment summer program.