From Private To Public: Choosing The Best School For Your Child

Choosing The Best School For Your Child

There are numerous factors involved when it comes to choosing the right school for your child(ren). Families in York Region are fortunate to have a diverse range of educational institutions available to choose from, including a strong, government-funded public and Catholic school system. But the options don’t end there.

We also have an array of private schools available, such as Aurora Preparatory Academy, Pickering College in Newmarket, and St. Andrew’s College in Aurora. There are also the Montessori schools, such as Aurora Montessori, Country Garden Montessori in Newmarket, and Church Street Montessori in Aurora. Not to mention the many language schools, tutoring services, and schools of other religious denominations to choose from.


With so many options available, the decision-making process can feel overwhelming. Of course, this is a good problem to have.
Choice is important. At the end of the day, parents simply want to make the best decision for their child and their family; and this means doing some homework.

“The first thing for parents to realize is that the school landscape is quite varied,” says Glen Herbert, writer and editor for Our Kids Media, a resource dedicated to promoting the benefits of private education. “Every school is unique, and they all are intending to help a certain kind of learner.”

Begin by assessing exactly what your child needs from the school in order to be successful. Be mindful of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and look for a school that will highlight these areas. Herbert compares the process to buying a pair of shoes. If you were to ask the salesperson to show you the best pair of shoes, they would first need to know what you intend to do with them. Do you want to go hiking? Are you running a marathon? Or are you going to a wedding? “The answer is going to be different based on what you want to achieve,” Herbert says. “Schools are the same way.”

There is a lingering myth in Canada suggesting private schools are only for the elite and wealthy. But rigid typecasting isn’t doing anyone any favours. According to a study by Fraser Institute on independent schools across the country, “In Canada, the lingering stereotypes are not reflective of the landscape.”

“We do our part by making sure that our price point is one of the lowest in York Region,” says Rhonda Vissers, principal and admissions director at Aurora Preparatory Academy. “We want to make sure that we are as affordable as possible for families, because we recognize the value of a private school.”

Choosing The Best School For Your Child

Language schools are also top of mind for parents, with vast benefits for students. Learning multiple languages can enhance cognitive development, promote cultural literacy, and increase employability. Fluency is not always the primary goal for the family or the institution.

Carrie Matheson, a Newmarket mother of three, explains why she decided to switch her children to a French Immersion program: “We hope it will benefit our children both personally and professionally in terms of travel, education options and future employment.” Parents interested in exploring this option can check out the York Region District School Board information sessions held at local French Immersion schools on January 14, 2017. 

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a school for your child. “It really is about best fit for your child,” says Vissers. Take the time to visit different schools and experience the community within those walls. “Make sure there is a strong community component, people who are positive role models and supportive to your children in social and emotional growth.”

Ask meaningful questions, such as: Does this school reflect who we are and what we value as a family? Is this a community we can imagine being a part of? Is this a place where we feel we belong? “Education is no longer about sending your child off and just trusting everything is going to be okay,” says Vissers. “It really has become a team effort between student, educator and family.”

It’s not just about choosing a school, it’s about choosing the relationships your child will have with their instructors, with their peers and also with themselves. The best part is: the choice is yours.

Article by Charlotte Ottaway

Local Links

Aurora Preparatory Academy, Aurora

Pickering College, Newmarket

St. Andrew’s College, Aurora

The Country Day School, King

Aurora Montessori, Aurora

Church Street Montessori, Aurora

Country Garden Montessori Academy, Newmarket

Academy for Gifted Children – P.A.C.E., Oak Ridges

Oxford Learning, Newmarket & Aurora

Tutoring Academy, Newmarket & Aurora

Our Kids Media

York Region District School  Board

York Catholic District School Board

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