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For many families, considerations have changed when selecting a place to live and a school for children to attend. In 2020, the widespread acceptance of remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic sparked an urban exodus. Families began fleeing cities to purchase homes in suburban areas with good public schools. Because good public schools mean good neighborhoods with faster home sales at higher prices - right? Buying a home in a town with a reputation for good public schools, however, does not guarantee that the neighborhood school is the right fit for each child.
Families should choose their children’s schools as purposefully as they choose a new home. Rather than accept a one-size-fits-all education for your one-of-a-kind child, function and fit should be central to the decision. If a neighborhood school is not the right fit for your child, there are many private school options to consider.
Here’s what to look for in a private school: 
  • Happy kids. School should be fun. Learning should engage and excite a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old alike.
  • Challenge should be balanced by supportive teachers who will walk side by side as their students take risks to grow and learn.
  • Resilience! Has the school continued to provide a first-rate education despite the pandemic? A resilient school will have more families recommending it now than ever, because their children are happy, safe, and learning.
  • Mission drives every decision and action in an organization. A school with a child-centered mission is committed to education in a fundamentally different way than a school providing a government-mandated curriculum.
  • The journey of learning should be the priority. When a child has their needs met through an individualized, nurturing and engaging education, outcomes like admittance to top secondary schools will follow.
  • Atmosphere. And finally, how does it feel? That “feel” is actually the collective experience of a school’s culture and traditions. Look for programs that partner younger and older children to build community, integrate service learning to foster connectedness within the school and beyond, and cultivate confidence by offering leadership opportunities, even for students who are quiet or shy.

In a private school setting, like that of Ridgefield Academy, students will get:

  • Small class sizes, individual attention, and a culture that encourages students to take risks and speak their mind. Each student is seen, understood, and encouraged to rise to their best self.
  • An intellectually inspiring curriculum which will ensure that students engage in learning that is both comprehensive and meaningful to their lives. Students find the power of their voices during class discussions, collaboration with peers, and public speaking.
  • At every age, students will build a strong foundation as authentically self-assured individuals who have a strong sense of self, love to learn, and move forward without fear. They will graduate prepared for success in any setting.

To view the full “Choosing A School” article, visit the Bedford & New Canaan Magazine website here.