Searching For the Right School
Leaders in diverse fields agree that education is the key to success in today's world. But how that education is delivered and the impact it will have on our children's lives is open to debate. Parents in Toronto are faced with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to schooling, including institutions that are public, faith-based, boarding, independent, charter and private. Some schools are restricted to one gender, while others are based on a specific philosophy. Even a trend towards home schooling has given birth to an "un-schooling” movement. Many parents are searching for useful criteria they can use in order to find a school that will help ensure their children's future success.
Academics and Technology
Most families who choose private or independent schools say academic performance is their number one priority. Toronto's private schools rank among the best in the country in this respect; students from private institutions have consistently scored high on standardized testing. Obviously, technology is also a big factor for today's students and the up-to-date equipment and tech-savvy instructors at private schools can give students a major advantage. One would expect both of these areas to be emphasized at top-ranking Canadian educational institutes.
More and more however, experts point to the advantages of educating the child as a whole. Along with academic and technical prowess, first-rate schools are now putting greater effort into fostering leadership abilities and guiding character development. Studies show that personal qualities and core values are perhaps the most important predictor of future success. A truly superior school provides a balance between imparting necessary educational skills and helping students realize the full scope of their natural potential.
Unique among private schools, preparatory schools seem best able to perform this balancing act. By their very nature, prep schools have strong academic programs and traditions of achievement. They're renowned for hiring dedicated staff and maintaining rigorous academic support programs to ensure that students are fully prepared for post-secondary work. Students at top prep schools are not only expected to demonstrate academic excellence and master technological skills, but they are also taught to embrace timeless values such as responsibility, integrity, duty to community and, above all, respect.
The best schools instill respect for one's self, for others, for the school and for the larger community. This leads to cooperation and assistance, with students naturally contributing to society in a meaningful way. A structured environment gives students confidence and stability. Diversity within classroom populations helps them build an understanding and tolerance for the viewpoints and values of others. Extracurricular activities provide opportunities for young people to shine in sports or artistic endeavors while learning to work together. All of these aspects help form a school's culture, which can be a powerful influence on a young person's character. In an atmosphere where a tradition of social responsibility goes hand in hand with the development of analytical skills, students are poised for success.
The best private schools in Toronto cultivate a love for learning, ensure academic and technological excellence, guide character development and encourage social responsibility, all of which help students realize their full potential.