Boarding schools come in two flavors: boarding schools and junior boarding schools. Boarding schools usually offer 9th grade through 12th grade. Junior boarding schools are residential schools which offer 9th grade and lower. Most junior boarding schools cover 6th grade through 9th grade. A few schools take boarders beginning as early as the 3rd grade. The Junior Boarding School Association lists ten schools as members. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing a junior boarding school.
They offer accelerated learning.
Probably the most compelling reason to send your child to a junior boarding school is to jump-start his academics. Having experienced, credentialled teachers in middle school is a huge plus for impressionable adolescents. If your son is passionate about math and science, he will have the opportunity to give wings to that passion. That's what a junior boarding school can do awfully well. Junior boarding school students discover that despite all the pressures of adolescence, it is cool to be smart. Learning is challenging and stimulating, and always full of discovery. Your son will have the satisfaction of accomplishing many things at a time when his friends in middle school are being distracted by all the things which distract young teenagers. As you and I well know, most of those distractions have little to do with learning.
A junior boarding school admissions director explains the benefits of sending your child to a junior boarding school.
They have 24/7 supervision and mentoring.
You and I know that young people need plenty of guidance, mentoring and supervision to make the transition from child to adulthood. Junior boarding schools offer the 24/7 supervision every child needs and deserves. Situations arise, and questions need answers, not always during class, but in the middle of the night or on a Saturday afternoon. A junior boarding school has the trained, experienced staff on hand to guide and direct its students. Professional, caring guidance and direction develop independent, confident young adults.
Knowing that the school is supervising their children all the time is a huge benefit for parents with demanding schedules and careers. You don't have to worry about who your child is hanging out with or what she is doing. A member of staff will know what's going on, literally all the time. The boarding school community becomes your child's extended family. The school's campus is her backyard. She has her books, her field hockey, and, most importantly, her friends, all in one convenient place and package. The security factor alone is a calming influence on both parent and child.
They offer enriched sports and extracurricular activities.
One of the reasons a junior boarding school works so well for many students is the lack of distractions. When you live above the store, as it were, you aren't wasting time commuting to school. Once you finish classes for the day, you take a short walk over to the auditorium for play practice. Or perhaps you are taking guitar lessons. Maybe your soccer team is playing a game. There's always something to do.
If the band director needs an extra 30 minutes to get a new piece right, he can make that happen without inconveniencing parents waiting outside the auditorium in parked cars. If the French club decides to head into town to sample some crepes at the local bistro, once again, it's easy to arrange and supervise. The seamless integration of academics with extracurricular activities, athletics, and her social life make a junior boarding school life a happy, enjoyable experience. You have the peace of mind knowing that she is having a good time as well as being properly supervised.
They develop character and encourage teamwork.
Most junior boarding schools are small with typically about 125-250 students. You cannot hide or be a number in that kind of community. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knows everybody well.
Character building is an integral part of the mentoring and guidance which the school family encourages. Young people have a chance to work the kinks out by discussing concerns, fears, dreams, and plans in an ongoing discussion with their peers and adults. Most importantly, the adults' job is to provide that guidance and support so necessary to help young people work through adolescence. Adolescents love to experiment and push all kinds of limits. Doesn't it make so much sense to have them doing that testing and experimenting under the watchful experienced eyes of professionals who know what to expect and what to look for?
They offer an opportunity for international students to improve their English skills.
Most international students focus on attending a boarding school for the high school years. That works as long as your English skills are strong. On the other hand, if English as a Second Language needs some extra time and professional instruction, most junior boarding schools offer their students a couple of years to perfect their proficiency in English. If English is your second language, learning to write and think proficiently in your adopted language will be an important thing to accomplish before you commence the demanding academic work of your high school, college prep years.
An international student tells us about his experience at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hampshire.
Junior boarding schools know how to teach students whose primary language is not English. These schools understand the enormous adjustments which an international student has to make to become acclimated to our American culture and our way of doing things. Junior boarding schools know how to ease the transition and make it a happy time for your child. They have been doing exactly that for hundreds of children who came before your child.
Now you are probably thinking that these five reasons make good sense. Of course, several other reasons come to mind such as the fact that the junior boarding school you are looking at sends many of its graduates on to prep schools for high school. Most junior boarding schools have beautiful campuses. Your son will learn so much about the environment and sustainability.
Now, as one parent to another, I know that you will wonder how your child will cope with being away from home. "Won't she miss her family? It seems so young for her to leave home. She needs her mother." We parents have to deal with letting go. That is never easy to do, but it's a good thing. Just remember one very important fact: you are sending her off to a professionally managed environment which has been around for years. She will be exposed to new, exciting teachers, new friends and more activities and stuff to do than you could ever give her back home. Just think, at the end of high school, leaving home to go away to college will not be an intimidating experience. Your child will have been there and done that already.
Junior boarding schools are an attractive option. Visit one near you and see just how wonderful they are.
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