Top 10 Benefits of a Private Elementary School

“Private schools excel at meeting the individual needs of each child and ensuring progress in both academic and social development. Private schools also provide a robust learning experience that helps parents effectively raise the whole child.”
—Chris McDuffie, M.A., R.R.W
Private School Educational Consultant

According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), there are over 2,000 independent schools providing high-quality and individualized education to more than 700,000 students from pre-K through high school. Why do so many parents choose a private or independent school for their child and why do so many discerning parents choose The Meadowbrook School?

1. HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS. Independent private schools, like The Meadowbrook School, nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, and encourage critical thinking. A larger percentage of students at independent private schools are enrolled in advanced courses than other schools.

2. SMALL CLASS SIZE. Independent private schools have low student-teacher ratios that encourage close connections with students. The median ratio in NAIS schools in 2011-12 was 8.8 students to 1 teacher (meaning that half have a higher ratio and half have a lower ratio).

3. EXCELLENT TEACHERS. They usually teach in their areas of expertise and are passionate about what they do. With more autonomy within the classroom, teachers are able to develop a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually.

4. EDUCATION FOR THE WHOLE CHILD.  Independent private schools nurture not just students’ intellectual ability and curiosity but also their personal and social growth and civic conscience.  Opportunities extend well beyond the classroom to athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and school leadership experiences.

5.  INDIVIDUALIZED ATTENTION.  With smaller classes and a focus on the development of the whole child, independent private schools deliver more individualized attention to each student.

6.  INCLUSIVENESS.  The Meadowbrook School, like many independent private schools, maintain diverse and vibrant student communities and welcome and respect each family.  In 2010-2011 students of color were 25.9 percent of total independent private school enrollment.

7.  A COMMUNITY OF PARENTS WHO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION.  Independent private schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals for the student.

8.  THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE A SCHOOL WITH A MISSION.  You can select a school whose philosophy, values, and teaching approach is right for your child.

9.  GREATER LIKELIHOOD OF A STUDENT COMPLETING A BACHLOR’S DEGREE OR GRADUATE DEGREE.

10.  AND MOST IMPORTANT:  An education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.

Do You Want Children Who Are Smarter and Have Superior Social Skills? Science Says Do This

Encouraging your children to do this will give them a major advantage, according to research.

BY JUSTIN BARISO

Founder, Insight

If you’re a parent, you instinctively want what’s best for your children.

So, what’s one way to give your children a leg up–a single skill that single-handedly increases their chances at success?

Science says: Encourage them to learn another language.

Increased Intelligence

In recent years, scientists and researchers have made breakthroughs in their understanding of bilingualism. In the past, experts thought that learning a second language was an “interference” that hindered children’s academic and intellectual development. But in a New York Times article entitled “Why Bilinguals Are Smarter,” Yudhijit Bhattacharjee explains why this interference is actually a good thing:

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

Bhattacharjee cites research that indicates that “the bilingual experience” improves children’s abilities to perform other mentally demanding tasks, such as plan, solve problems, and stay focused.

But as a parent, you’re probably looking for more than just “smart” for your kids. How many of us want genius children who simply can’t relate to others? Can learning another language help children develop better social skills, too?

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Good for Social Skills, Too

Katherine Kinzler, an associate professor of psychology and human development at Cornell University, published a new piece for the New York Times this weekend entitled, “The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals.” Recent research from Kinzler’s developmental psychology lab indicates that “multilingual exposure improves not only children’s cognitive skills but also their social abilities.”

For example, one study illustrates how multilingual children demonstrate better general communication skills than monolingual children:

We took a group of children in the United States, ages 4 to 6, from different linguistic backgrounds, and presented them with a situation in which they had to consider someone else’s perspective to understand her meaning. For example, an adult said to the child: “Ooh, a small car! Can you move the small car for me?” Children could see three cars–small, medium and large–but were in position to observe that the adult could not see the smallest car. Since the adult could see only the medium and large cars, when she said “small” car, she must be referring to the child’s “medium.”

We found that bilingual children were better than monolingual children at this task. If you think about it, this makes intuitive sense. Interpreting someone’s utterance often requires attending not just to its content, but also to the surrounding context. What does a speaker know or not know? What did she intend to convey? Children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: They have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken.

In essence, children who speak other languages are more in tune with others.

What about children who speak only one language, but are regularly exposed to another?

Kinzler’s lab found that “children who were effectively monolingual yet regularly exposed to another language–for example, those who had grandparents who spoke another language–were just as talented as the bilingual children at this task.” (Italics mine.) However, Kinsey reports that the “exposure” children didn’t perform better than other monolinguals on cognitive tasks.

In other words, simply putting your children in touch with another language (even if they don’t learn to speak it fluently) may not necessarily increase their IQ, but it can give them superior communication skills and contribute to a broader perspective.

My Experience

As a child who was raised around multiple languages and cultures, I can vouch for the pivotal role these play in development. Although was surrounded by people of varying ethnicities, many of whom spoke more than one language (including some in my own family), I didn’t become fluent in another language until I reached my mid-20s. But my parents always encouraged familiarity with those other languages and cultures.

Because of this, I learned to see the world through different sets of eyes from a very early age. It was fascinating to me how a simple news report would elicit completely different responses from my mother (with a Portuguese background), my father (who is Filipino), and my (pretty diverse) American friends. These types of experiences helped me to realize that everyone’s perspective is different, and these perspectives are shaped by a myriad of factors.

To this day, I relate well to people from just about any background. When meeting people who come from an unfamiliar place, I naturally focus on what we share in common–but I’m always fascinated by the differences.

Putting It Into Practice

Of course, my research is far more anecdotal than that of Ms. Kinzler and her associates. And although I’ve never taken an IQ test, I’m sure it’s nothing to brag about.

But if you want to inspire natural curiosity and a love of learning in your children, remember this: You don’t need to be bilingual.

Just encourage them to be.

STUDENTS GET READY FOR THE SCIENCE EXPO AT MEADOWBROOK SCHOOL

Partners with Franklin Institute to Benefit Pre-K–6th  

 Meadowbook, PA, March 2, 2016—On Saturday, March 12th from 10 am to 2 pm, the Meadowbrook School will host its annual Science Expo, a family-friendly event that is open to the public. This year’s theme is FLIGHT, and everyone in attendance is invited to complete a scavenger hunt for prizes, attend science programs, and participate in activities planned around the concept of flight. Additionally, representatives from Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute will visit the school and provide a live, one-hour science presentation entitled Flight. This event, perfect for pre-K and elementary-aged children, will take place at 11 am and 12:30 pm and is also open to the community.

Meadowbrook’s Science Expo is a non-competitive exhibition of students’ science collections, projects, and scientific experiments. All students, from pre-K to sixth grade, are encouraged to participate. This year’s expo will be on display in the Shuttleworth Gymnasium, and it will feature exhibits within the categories of life, earth, and physical science. The projects presented by Meadowbrook’s sixth graders will employ the Scientific Method, and students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of creating a hypothesis, conducting procedures, making observations, and formulating conclusions.

Science teacher, Mrs. Janice Mockaitis, oversees the Science Expo each year with a dedicated commitment to students’ learning. Notes Mrs. Mockaitis, “Meadowbrook’s science program is designed to help develop students’ innate curiosity of their world, acquire scientific knowledge, obtain scientific habits of mind, and encourage a positive attitude towards science.”

Additionally, the Meadowbrook School will host a special Admissions Open House over the duration of the Science Expo on 3/12, from 10 am to 2 pm (walk-ins welcome). Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the science exhibition during the tour. To register, please  contact Karen DiFelice at  215-884-3238 X132, and/or visit http://www.themeadowbrookschool.org/admissions/open-house-and-campus-visits/.

About The Meadowbrook School

The Meadowbrook School is an independent, nonprofit, co-educational, nonsectarian day school encompassing preschool through sixth grade. The mission of The Meadowbrook School is to offer an unwavering commitment to academic excellence for a diverse population of elementary school children. The school believes education includes learning to appreciate the value of hard work, expanding a sense of integrity, and practicing humanity towards others while inspiring students to make a positive difference. We strive to have our students well prepared and eager to take on future challenges. For more information, please visit www.themeadowbrookschool.org.

 The Meadowbrook School is located at 1641 Hampton Rd, Meadowbrook, PA 19046. Phone Number: 215-884-3238.

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