By Nichole Bottini
In counties across America that are educationally affluent, parents may question: Why private school? What would be the purpose of paying for education if the public schools in the area are highly rated? However, the real question is: What are the benefits of private education and do they meet my child’s specific needs?
Private education allows for differentiated, individualized, and integrated instruction. Private schools are free from the restrictions of scripted curriculum often associated with standardized testing. This, in turn, allows for a focus on the child. Test-based curriculums have unfortunately resulted in an educational “loss of the child,” as so much of the learning is dictated by tests and scores. Private schools often offer smaller class sizes which allow teachers to get to know their students and individuate instruction based on student needs. Student learning styles can be identified and instructed to rather than forced into a mold that simply does not work for all students.
Integrated study is another benefit of private education. Subjects and lessons more easily flow from room-to-room and instructor-to-instructor resulting in greater applied knowledge. Free from the “memorize and regurgitate” attitude of test-driven curriculum, students are encouraged to not only retain, but apply new information to a variety of subjects. Integrated study also promotes hands-on, experiential activities which result in greater enthusiasm for learning.
Destiny School of the Arts promotes academic excellence through arts integration, allowing for its students to engage in an applied curriculum. Students are exposed to diverse modalities to ensure mastery of a lesson. A pre-k lesson on the solar system, for example, would include: creation of planets via paper mache and/or playdough, placing planets in the correct order, singing a song about the planets while “walking through the solar system,” finding the planet that is missing, and planet name recognition. This integrated approach of learning through visual art, music, and movement allows Destiny students to look at topics from a variety of perspectives and help them gain applied knowledge!