Public vs. Private Schools in Edmonton: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by Gurpreet Ghatehora on Monday, February 29th, 2016 at 11:19am.

Making the decision on how your child will best be educated is a difficult and complex choice, and one that may not always have an obvious answer. Here are some pros and cons with public and private schools to help you make a decision that’s right for you, your child, and your family.

Private School Pros

Specialized programs: Many of Edmonton’s best private schools have specialized and focused curriculum that are meant for particular students. These programs can be focused on athletics, academic achievement, performing arts and music, or almost anything else that your kids may love. Be sure to pick a school that will help your child build off their strengths and let them explore other options as well.

Assistance for Special Needs: Private schools are often well-equipped to help students in need of specialized attention, whether it’s a learning disability or some other needs specific to your child’s development. Resources and programs can vary widely on a school-to-school basis, so it’s best to do your research before sending your kid. And be sure to see if you can get special funding from the government if the school is recognized as a place where they can get the attention they need.

Better-equipped, smaller classes: One of the biggest differences between public and private schools is the classrooms, both in terms of equipment available and the number of students. Smaller class sizes mean your child can get the individual attention they may need, while better-equipped classrooms can ensure they’re familiar with the latest technology that can help them develop and succeed.

Private School Cons

Cost: Of course, private schools are not cheap. While the increased number of institutions to pop up in Edmonton over the past few decades has made tuition more affordable, just be competition, it doesn’t mean the expense is cheap.

Travel: Private schools are fewer and farther between than public schools, which means transportation can become an issue. Long bus rides or no transportation options at all can be a difficult hurdle that can come with a private school, so it’s best to look into the transportation situation before enrolling, lest your child have very long bus rides or you have to arrange rides for every day.

Public School Pros

Cost: Public schools are significantly less expensive than private and that means your family can have a little extra money for other things, like quality time together and vacations. Some families nearly break the bank sending their children to private schools, which can have a negative impact on their home life, which can then impact their school life. Sometimes the best decision is also the most prudent.

Diversity: While many private schools in Edmonton have a diverse student base, they don’t necessarily represent Edmonton in all the demographics. If you want your child to grow up with kids that are different from themselves, private institutions can be a hurdle to such a goal.

Public School Cons

-Class sizes: Class sizes in Alberta, unfortunately, have only been going up in the past few years, which can lead to some kids falling between the cracks. If your child needs specialized attention, public school may not be the right decision.

-Equipment: Public schools in Alberta are generally well-equipped, but they can be a bit behind the times.

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