Parents given options when it comes to their kids’ education

Reading, writing and arithmetic was the motto for Canadian private and independent schools at the inaugural Calgary Private School Expo on Sept. 30.

Held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary, approximately 150 families attended, according to Erin McLaughlin, spokeswoman from Our Kids Media, the event organizers.

 “With private and independent education, parents can have the opportunity to custom design a program for their child,” said Judi Samuels, Our Kids Media content strategist and representative for the event. “We don’t say that private has an advantage over public, but our philosophy is 100 per cent about what is best for the child.”

Twenty-one private, independent, Montessori, boarding, single-gendered and Mitchel Beacom, a Strathcona Tweedsmuir student, gives parents the inside look at private schooling.

Photo by Kassidy Christensenspecial needs schools from across Canada and internationally – Neuchâtel Junior College based out of Neuchâtel, Switzerland was in attendance – showcased their programs with pride as eager parents investigated what would be the best fit for their children.

Sometimes private schooling is encouraged when a child’s needs are slightly more demanding, such as for a child with a learning disability or one who needs more of an educational challenge.

“Our goal at the expo is to help parents ask the right questions… making the decision to invest in private or independent education is not easy,” Samuels said.

For those who have decided to go the private or independent schooling route, Bruce Mutch, director of admissions for Okotoks’ Strathcona Tweedsmuir School, stresses the importance of going to the school and taking a tour to solidify the decision.

“You can learn a lot about a school just looking at their website, but nothing beats the in-person visit,” Mutch said.

“We don’t say that private has an advantage over public, our philosophy is 100 per cent about what is best for the child.”

-Judi Samuels, Our Kids Media

“Research shows that 85 per cent of families who have done research (on private schooling) then showed up to a school decide within 15 minutes if it’s the right fit for their son or daughter. “It was also encouraged that parents observe a classroom during their visit to get a glance at what the day-to-day life would be like for their child.

As for next year, it is expected that the schools will return with a few additions – it was rumoured some Edmonton private schools would also get the chance to showcase – to educate parents on the opportunities available to them and their children.

kchristensen@cjournal.ca