How to Choose an Independent School

Making choices for your child’s education can be one of the most important decisions a parent can make, and it can be a challenging task. Just as every child is a unique individual, each school has something different to offer. Deciding what your child needs and what matters most are key steps in choosing a school with the best fit for your child.

The Oakville Independent Schools vary in size from 50 students to more than 700. Some are elementary schools, some are secondary schools and some are combined settings. Parents can choose a school that offers programs for Preschool to Grade 8, Preschool to Grade 12, Grade 7 to 12 or just secondary school. Other choices include Montessori, IB World, traditional, progressive, faith-based, boarding, single-gender and co-educational.

While each school has a distinct educational approach, mission and philosophy, all schools provide families with unique and exceptional academic programs and extracurricular experiences.

When parents begin looking for an independent school, they are often looking for an environment that offers a well-rounded experience. The members of the OIS offer programs that develop character and intellect together and provide hands-on learning experiences such as field trips, extracurricular activities, leadership training and guest speakers.

Although admissions schedules vary, most schools encourage families to begin the process in early fall of the year preceding enrollment. The first step often starts with attending an Open House or arranging a school tour.

Here are some tips to consider when looking for an independent school:

  • Do your homework – visit the schools, attend open houses and evaluate your options
  • Involve your child in the process – browse school websites together, talk to other families with children in the school
  • Know when to begin – most open houses take place between October and November for enrollment in the following school year

Each independent school is distinct. Finding the right fit depends on your wish list. Once you have determined the most important factors regarding your child’s education with respect to the needs of your child and the goals of your family, and you have done your research, the next step would be to prepare a list of questions for the admissions office to answer at the schools you plan to visit.