Parents who have decided to send their children to boarding school sometimes find it difficult to choose between the excellent options on offer. Some of the more obvious things to consider are the quality of teaching, studies, sports, facilities and extracurricular activities offered. Equally important, however, is the stimulating, familial and inclusive nature of the school community, although it can sometimes be more difficult to assess.
Parents who opt for small boarding communities often do so in light of an overall decision and the benefits that will flow from it in the long run. It means more than kids learning to do their own laundry and finish their homework without a parent coaxing them. It’s about teaching them self-initiative, being good learners, and navigating various situations that may present themselves in ways that day scholars simply don’t encounter.
One of the missions of boarding schools is not only to educate students, but to help them become more balanced individuals who can positively contribute to the world around them. Small schools that offer a high pastoral and family environment are often ideal in this regard as they offer continuous support on an individual basis, which can be extremely important in the absence of parents. Here are some of the things to consider when looking for school options.
High pastoral care and family environment
Leaving home is never easy, but going to boarding school can be a good preparation for college when a move often becomes imperative. Living in a boarding school is a good way for students to learn to cope with life, to interact in a healthy way with their peers, and to prepare for a more independent life, all under the watchful eyes of teachers. While teachers in most schools are there primarily to guide students through their academic life, in boarding schools they also play a mentoring role and are often called upon to help on a wide range of issues in the life of the school. student.
All children are known by a member of staff
Public schools can have large classrooms where students can easily get lost in the crowds. In a boarding school, class sizes are normally much smaller and, given the intensity of the school and boarding environment, students quickly become known to their teachers as separate individuals. This allows all students to be recognized participants both inside and outside the classroom.
Individual support and growth
Boarding schools can be incredible catalysts for the personal and moral growth of students. In schools like Indian mountain in Connecticut, USA, students are celebrated for all their talents and supported in a way that encourages emotional growth. Living in a community means learning to get along with everyone and to respect the different values and ideas of the people. Students also learn the consequences of their actions and how to become responsible citizens. Boarding schools often provide many opportunities for students to challenge themselves, reach their full potential and develop a sense of independence in their daily lives. Their adherence to a code of conduct and the various lessons they learn from the boarding school also help to lay the foundations for their future life.
Most of the students who attend boarding school make lifelong friends and often describe their school as “family”. These friendships and this network of friends and contacts help each individual to feel valued and cared for. This community can often last into adulthood, as alumni tend to share a distinct and unique story with others who understand and affirm them. Former residential school students also tend to take great pride in their school and generally seek to stay connected after graduation.
Below are five international boarding schools in North America that pride themselves on the highest level of pastoral ministry for their students:
Indian Mountain School (IMS) is a coeducational boarding and day school for Kindergarten to Grade 9 students in Lakeville, Connecticut. In keeping with the IMS motto “life through service”, adherence to values such as honesty, compassion and respect permeates the philosophy of the school where teachers are committed to educating the child. in general. The school provides an excellent academic foundation for students, enabling them to rank highly in high schools in the United States, while encouraging them to live and work with others, find their voice, identify their strengths and their talents, develop their leadership skills and engage with the world. The IMS boarding community provides an environment for students to explore who they are and how they can contribute to their peer group and beyond. Weekly activities are designed to take advantage of the location of the mountain, cultural events and destinations on the doorstep of the school.
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School (SJR) is an independent, co-ed Kindergarten to Grade 12 preparatory school and boarding school in Winnipeg, Canada. The importance of literacy remains at the heart of SJR’s values, but so too does the need to develop fully functioning members of society who are fully proficient in the 21st century, such as critical thinking, creativity, global awareness, collaboration and entrepreneurial skills. Boarding provides students with a home-away-from-home experience with plenty of time for academic endeavors and extracurricular activities such as concert bands, music lessons, and debate programs. Grade 11 and 12 students may also choose to enroll for a term in the boarding school program to immerse themselves in the life and facilities of SJR and prepare for life after high school.
The White Mountain School (WMS) in New Hampshire is a preparatory boarding and day school for grades 9 through PG. At White Mountain, they believe in keeping their community small so that teachers and students forge deep and lasting relationships and each individual is valued and recognized. The average class size is 10 students and the overall student-faculty ratio is 5: 1. Dedicated teachers, a strong community, and a belief in individual passions are the fundamentals of the school. White Mountain also has signature programs such as student-led learning, off-campus study, outdoor education, and sustainability studies that set it apart from other schools.
Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho is an independent day school with programs ranging from preschool to grade 12. Riverstone has only 325 students spread across the three levels of the school and prides itself on its small class structure. The general emphasis of the school is to get to know the students and to foster their academic and personal development. Community service programs, outdoor education, and international understanding are some of the activities that extend beyond the academic curriculum for students to build lifelong skills to be successful at both in Riverstone and in life beyond school.
High Mowing is an independent, private, coeducational day school and boarding school in Wilton, New Hampshire. Its location on farmland in a house that became a school is revealing, as High Mowing is still a house that serves as an interactive classroom today. Students here appreciate the close-knit learning and living community that teaches tolerance and acceptance. High Mowing’s program is rich in the arts and embraces the surrounding woods and nature. The high school’s unique program includes 150-minute block lessons in the morning and intensive elective lessons in the afternoon to allow the most complete immersion possible in subjects and disciplines. Close and warm relationships are encouraged in the dormitories and the counselors and families live in the apartments of each of the two boys and girls establishments. Other faculty families also settle on campus, share meals with students, and spend time with students outside of the classroom.
Images via Indian mountain school