Is Private School Right for My Child and How Can I Afford It?
You pay taxes that pay for your local school. You may even have moved to your town because the public-school system has a good reputation. So why should you pay for an independent (private) school? And even if you want to, how can you afford it?
First, let’s start with the top 10 ways that private schools differ from public schools.
- Small Classes
Private schools have smaller classes. Period. Your child will be one of 5-15 students in a class vs. one of 30 or more. Smaller classes mean more individual attention, more student engagement, more opportunities to be challenged, less falling through the cracks, and more flexibility in curriculum to address student needs.
At Montgomery School, in Chester Springs, PA, an average class size of 13 and a student-teacher ratio of 7:1 ensure that every child is known well. Montgomery teachers can adapt each day’s classroom agenda to give time and space for students to wonder why and joyfully explore new material.
Building trust between teachers and students is a key factor in the most effective educational experiences. When teachers and students (and their parents/guardians) are true partners, learning is a collaborative, supportive process in which students have the confidence and motivation to try harder.
Montgomery School teachers know just how much to push and how much to support each student’s growth. As a dedicated PreK–8 school, elementary grade specialists understand the developmental needs of their students and forge the essential relationships that help young learners thrive.
- A Strong Community
Everyone needs to belong. Private schools are often characterized by the abiding connections between all members of the community. A welcoming culture of inclusivity ensures that all students feel valued and respected.
Montgomery School is an open and joyful “family,” in which students always find a place to belong and parents are always welcome. Participation at every level is encouraged—not only to make the school a vibrant center of learning, but also to embrace the many talents and histories that combine to make it whole.
- Differentiated Learning
No two students learn the same way, so it stands to reason that kids need different ways to understand new content and do their best. Private schools are equipped to recognize and provide for different learning styles with a variety of approaches to introducing subject matter.
Montgomery School teachers combine traditional classroom instruction with lots of hands-on projects, outdoor education, and discussion-based courses in order to give students multiple ways to learn foundational content. Additionally, teachers who know their students well are always available to push a little harder and/or provide a little extra help as needed.
When teachers aren’t tied to a one-size-fits-all curriculum or teaching to a test, they have the flexibility to fire up the imagination of their students in all sorts of ways. Hands-on projects, collaborative work, research in the field, applied learning to the real world…these are all meaningful ways to teach and learn for maximum and lasting impact.
Montgomery School’s campus is situated on 60 beautiful acres that give teachers and students a vast landscape for learning. Outdoor education is a central part of the school’s program and teachers routinely take advantage of the unique resource. Additionally, teachers create a learning environment that relies on full participation and builds the confidence that empowers kids to raise their hands and speak up.
When budgets are cut, the “extras” are usually the first things to go. Private schools consider activities like art and athletics to be essential parts of the complete educational experience. Not only do private schools maintain robust programming across all disciplines, but they also provide a wide range of opportunities for gifted students to challenge themselves, abundant extra-curricular activities, and access to perspective-changing off-campus adventures.
Montgomery students are always exploring. Whether through academic, artistic, athletic, or service initiatives, children start seeing themselves as complete learners and contributors right from the start. Moving seamlessly from the classroom to outdoors and back again is all in a day’s work—a joyful rhythm that supports inquiry beyond the syllabus.
If a private school is not specifically designed for students with learning differences, it is often credited for the ability to assure a high degree of academic achievement. Private schools have the luxury of focusing on the task at hand and increasing academic expectations rather than devoting precious administrative and faculty resources to basic class management. Because they are not tied to a publicly funded curriculum, private schools can broaden the scope of content taught and vary the way it is delivered.
Montgomery School prepares young students with the highest level traditional educational foundation. Every day, children are challenged to try a little harder and raise the bar of their own learning. Teachers support their journeys to make sure they are doing their very best and are always ready for the next step.
Social & Emotional Learning
Private schools recognize each student’s needs both in and out of the classroom and they devote time and resources to address them. The small student-teacher ratio allows time to build the life skills that help ensure success like collaboration, creativity, communication, and character.
Montgomery School is committed to addressing all the educational needs of young learners. While preparing students with a strong academic foundation, the school also considers carefully the unique social and emotional growth of children in grades PreK–8. The Character Curriculum, Outdoor Ed Program, and Design Thinking cross-disciplinary approach to learning, give students the space and resources to develop their minds, bodies, and souls.
Parents often cite safety as a key benefit of private schools and many schools underscore student safety as their highest priority. What good is an ‘A’ on an AP exam if students aren’t protected? Private schools devote both time and money to ensure that children are safe—physically and emotionally. That’s not to say they go to school in a bubble. Rather, private schools create environments in which it is safe to make mistakes and learn from them.
Montgomery’s 60-acre campus is inherently secure. It is made more so with a fully integrated security system that includes outdoor cameras and controlled building access, so students have the space and freedom to run around and be kids. While they are always supervised, children never feel restrained. Every day they get to practice spreading their wings as they build confidence—knowing that they are safe and supported.
Shared Values and Educational Philosophy
Private schools create communities of like-minded individuals. Does that mean everyone has to agree with everyone? Absolutely not. Rather, it means that teachers, students, and parents, all believe in the school’s mission and value system. Part of choosing the best private school is making sure that your priorities align with the school’s priorities. Once you do that, being surrounded by families who also share those priorities will uphold the important work of educating your child(ren).
Montgomery School’s mission is to ignite each child’s love of learning and foster their individual talents during the most formative years in order to prepare them for future success.
The School promises to:
Know and challenge each child, and inspire them to reach their potential.
Cultivate an environment of mutual respect.
Promote the academic, social, and emotional development of each child.
Provide a challenging curriculum, designed to teach students how to become critical thinkers, active problem solvers, and confident leaders.
The School believes in:
The power of community.
A strong partnership between parents and educators to support the growth and development of each student.
Creating an enriching cultural environment.
Character development and teaching students the importance of personal integrity, respect, responsibility and service to others.
Preserving childhood for Prekindergarten through 8th Grade students.
Now that I’m convinced, how can I afford a private school like Montgomery?
If you’ve read this far, you obviously recognize the importance of education and want to give your child every opportunity for success. An independent (private) school can provide an educational experience that opens both doors and minds.
As a school committed to the growth of students in PreK–8th grade, Montgomery appreciates the singular opportunity to start a child’s education off right—right from the start. Some parents might suggest that if they were to pay for education, they would wait and send their child(ren) to a private high school instead of an elementary school. But studies show that the early formative years in school are when the foundation for all learning is established, and once that window of opportunity has passed, there is no going back.
Montgomery believes in access to the best education possible for as wide a population as possible. As such, in 2018, the School reset its tuition to align more realistically with what families can afford and encourage those who think that private school is out of reach to think again. A generous tuition assistance program is also available to provide additional support for students whose families qualify based on need.
Multiple payment plans respect family’s needs for flexibility and we invite you to inquire about making a Montgomery education within reach.