Do you live in San Diego, CA and want to know your options for private schools for your kids? Here are factors to consider when choosing a private school.

Every year about 7-9% of California school kids attend private school rather than public school. In 2016, that was about 500,000 California students.

There are a number of benefits to attending private schools, ranging from specialized education programs to smaller class sizes. In a recent poll, it was discovered that over 70% of private schools provide an excellent education compared to a mere 44% of public schools. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge and enroll your children in a private school, you’ll have to start with the process of choosing a private school. 

Read on for 7 important factors to consider when choosing the right San Diego private school for your family.

1. Cost of Private Schools

Of course, the first thing you’ll have to consider is your financial situation. Private schools do require tuition fees, as they are not funded by federal or state taxes. Because of this, you will want to look at the tuition rates for the schools that you are interested in.

Remember that some financial aid is usually available. At NDA, we grant a small number of awards each year to students who are in the most need. We count on our more financially stable parents to pay full tuition to ensure that more children get a chance to receive some of our modest financial aid.

2. Size of Classes

Most private schools offer smaller class sizes, but that doesn’t mean that all of them do. Ongoing studies have found that students who are placed in smaller classes are often months ahead in their learning than students who are placed in large classes. 

What you want to find are class sizes that are small enough to offer an optimal education and yet not so small that they don’t facilitate socialization. After all, social skills are an important part of the developmental process.

3. Education Opportunities

Private schools are not required to meet some of the limiting federal benchmarks that private schools must meet. What that means is that a private school education goes above and beyond curriculums that cater to standardizing testing and offer a more in-depth and well-rounded education. 

Make sure that you look at a private school’s academic roster before determining that it is the right choice for you. 

4. Grades Taught

In your search for San Diego private schools, you’ll come across many private preschools, private elementary schools, and so forth. It is worth considering the benefits of enrolling your child in a private school that offers K-8th grade classes rather than hopping from one private school to the next.

Private schools are not bound by school district lines, which means that parents can enroll their children in any private school of their choosing. What that means is that your child may make a close group of friends in elementary school only to find them scattered to several different middle schools. At such a young age, this social disruption can be quite painful and even harmful to their education.

5. Religious Affiliation

One of the many reasons that parents often choose private over public schools is that private schools can incorporate religious lessons into the curriculum. At NDA, we pride ourselves in instilling strong Catholic values and lessons in our students so that they can grow in their faith along with their secular knowledge.

Many religious private schools are directly affiliated with a specific parish or church. Enrolling your child in the private school that is partnered with your church is a very positive, community-building experience. You get to know the other families and even the educators in a way you likely wouldn’t in a public school setting.

6. After School Enrichment and Extracurriculars

Parents know that a well-rounded child is not just involved in their studies. They are also involved in after school enrichment and extracurriculars. This not only sets them up for more success when it comes time to apply to universities but it also gives them opportunities to express themselves and discover who they truly are.

It is important to look for schools that offer more than sports teams, alone. At NDA, we offer everything from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to Robotics, chess club, and more. Plus, students can take engage in activities like choir, student council, and the yearbook committee.  

7. Location

While your top priorities involve finding the best education and environment for your child, location cannot be overlooked. Private schools service families from a wider area than public schools. As a result, your children are unlikely to get to and from school by way of a school bus. Instead, you will need to provide transportation by way of your own vehicle, carpooling, or public transportation if your children are old enough.

NDA is located on Del Mar Trails Road, just off of the Ted Williams Freeway. We serve the families of Northern San Diego and the surrounding area. We are positioned in a central location between Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, and Torrey Highlands.

Choosing a Private School Is a Serious Decision

When you’re choosing a private school for your child or children, you’re making an investment in their futures. It is important that you research each school in depth before making your final decision.

If you are a Catholic family looking for a topnotch pre-K through 8th-grade private school in San Diego, we hope you consider Notre Dame Academy. We are committed to helping every student meet their full potential. Contact us today to learn more about enrollment.

During the first years of your child’s life, they’re completely under your watch. You don’t have to worry about outside influences, which allows you to raise your child the way that you want to. This can’t always last forever, though.

If both parents are working then daycare and eventually preschool are necessities. Choosing the best preschool for your child to spend some of these formative years is crucial. Today, we’re going to give you some tips on how to choose a preschool that’s consistent with the environment you want your child in.

You’ve got to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of digging to ensure that your child is going to get the skills and tools that will prepare them for elementary school. Fortunately, we’re here to help you figure out what those questions are.

Figure Out Your Must-Haves

The first thing you should do is create a list with some “must-haves” for your child. Doing this will allow you to rule out certain preschools right away and get a few others on your shortlist.

So, what would some of these must-haves be?

  • Consider the distance you’re willing to travel from your home. One “must-have” might be the schools’ close proximity to your home or work. 
  • Another could be the preschool hours. If both parents are working every day, they might need a preschool that will keep the children occupied until 4 or 5 pm.
  • Do you want a specific type of preschooling for your child? There are several different approaches to early education, so learn a bit more about things like the Montessori Method, the Waldorf Approach, or the Bank Street Approach.
  • Cost is arguably the biggest factor for many people. Preschool prices can range from very low to very high, so do some research then set a limit that you need to stay under. This will rule out some schools right away.

Talk To the Staff

After you’ve got some “must-haves” written down, you can start mapping out some of the schools in your area. Your list of requirements should leave some obvious candidates and a few outliers. Don’t neglect potentially compatible schools because they’re slightly out of your radius or slightly above your price range.

The way that you’re going to find the best preschool for your child is by being open to slight inconvenience. Once you start conducting visits, you’ll find out more about the inner workings of the school.

An important part of the preschool experience is the teachers and staff at the facility. Go in and meet with staff at every preschool on your shortlist. Have a list of questions you’re going to ask every representative so that you’ll have answers to compare afterward.

You want teachers that interact in a positive way with their students, and staff that truly care about what they do. If you feel that they might be a bit jaded, or have one foot out the door, then rule that school out.

Base the quality of your visit on your gut feel. If you feel that your child would be in good hands, then keep it as an option. 

Positive Environments

Keep your wits about you when you’re walking around the premises. Take in your surroundings like a sponge and consider how your child would fare in an environment like that. 

Make sure that the rooms are spacious and safe. Look at the furniture, toys, and playground to ensure that it’s all suitable for kids your child’s age. The overall vibe of the school should be welcoming and accommodating for kids of any background and personality.

What’s the Curriculum?

When you’re doing your tours and speaking to the guides or teachers, try to get a good sense of what daily life is going to be like for your child. The curriculum, along with the people teaching it are the two most important things in a preschool.

You’re going to want your child to spend their days at a preschool that’s in-line with how you educate and discipline them. Of course, you’ll never be able to achieve this 100 percent, but the preschool that you end up choosing should come somewhat close to your ideal.

For instance, you should find out how much time your child is going to spend “playing” every day. You’re not paying large fees to have them outside playing constantly. There’s value in playing with other children, but you need a good balance of playtime, schooling and learning core values.

At the Notre Dame Academy, we put a special focus on religion, but also English, math, science, and art. It’s important to us that your child receives a well-rounded preschool education so that they’re prepared for elementary school.

Compatibility With Your Child

After you’ve completed all of your school visits, talk to your partner and try to figure out which one is the best fit for your child. If they’re going to truly accept and enjoy this big change in their life, it’s going to have to be a welcome one.

Choose the school that’s both compatible with your child’s personality and those personal needs that you listed before you started doing visits. Then, all that’s left to do is figure out tuition fees and then enroll your child in preschool.

Learning How to Choose a Preschool Is Different For Everyone

Teaching someone how to choose a preschool is difficult because every situation is different. What works for one child and one family, might not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to write out your needs and do a lot of research before you choose one.

To enroll your child in one of the top Christian preschools in southern California, come in and visit us at the Notre Dame Academy. Our dedicated teachers and staff will give your child a rich cultural experience and show them the importance of being dedicated to academia.

Over 5.7 million K-12th students in the United States attend a private or Catholic school.

In fact, when compared to all of the nation’s schools, private schools make up more than a quarter, which shows that there’s a growing appreciation for the structure and experiences they provide.

But why do families advocate for, and choose private over public?

For many, the answer is an immersive education, opportunities for community service and outreach, and the whole-person approach to learning which often includes religious instruction, especially for Catholic schools.

But how do you know if a Catholic school is right for you?

And how can you find the best San Diego Catholic school for your child and family?

Finding the best school is about finding a school that supports advanced and life-long learning, one that has an immersive Catholic community, and focuses on rich, Christian-based experiences that will fulfill your child not only academically, but socially and emotionally, too.

Whether you’re thinking about enrolling your child in a Catholic school, are debating a switch from public to private, or are simply exploring your local options, here are your steps for finding the best San Diego Catholic schools.

1. Research All the Local San Diego Catholic Schools and Make a List

Choosing schools in San Diego may seem daunting at first, but the process is relatively simple.

Start by making a list of all the potential options, then weed out any that might be too far away, out of your price range, or not aligned with your personal beliefs or educational ideals.

When you have a shortened list, you can start to narrow down what schools you want to pursue and start reaching out.

2. Focus On Schools with Strong Instruction

You can expect qualified instructors at all of the best private schools in San Diego. However, depending on your child’s needs or areas of weakness/strength, you might prefer some type of specialized instruction.

If, for example, your child has a learning disability or IEP, you might want to look at private schools in San Diego that offer Special Education services. If you’re looking for your child to have more autonomy in his or her learning, it’s best to search each school’s academic philosophies and beliefs.

The instruction is the most fundamental component in finding the right fit so be sure to only pursue options that have the strong, qualified instruction.

3. Don’t Be Shy About Asking Questions

As you narrow down your search, don’t be shy about asking questions! Creating a running list of basic questions for each school, and specific questions to ask teachers, administrators, or other parents when you’re visiting each campus.

4. Take a Campus Tour (With and Without Your Child)

The best way to see and feel the environment of a school is to be there in person and possibly even see some of the classes in action.

Although you will want your child involved in the process because he or she will ultimately be the one attending, it may be helpful to also tour the school alone (just parents) first to get a feel if it’s a good fit before introducing your child.

5. Meet With the Principal and Potential Teacher(s) If Possible

When you go to a campus, be sure to set up any necessary appointments.

Meeting with a principal or director can ensure you’re getting a feel for the school from the top-down. You’ll also want to meet with any administrators to learn the application process, and, if possible, potential teacher(s) to preview the classroom experience.

6. Connect With Other Parents

If you can, connect with current parents to get a more behind-the-scenes feel of your child’s potential school.

Ask the principal/director to put you in touch with a family who would be willing to talk to you, or use social media to connect (for example, in a Facebook page or group).

7. Use Social Media as a Tool

Beyond connecting with current parents, you can use social media to stay connected with a school’s happenings. The best private schools in San Diego use social networking to update both students and parents with events and activities.

Even if you’re not a current student or family member, you can attend events to see whether or not the school will be a good fit.

8. Apply and Stay Up-to-Date on Application Deadlines

When you’ve found a few schools that seem to fit your child and family, don’t hesitate to apply.

In San Diego, there are application windows and deadlines you must take note of. It’s important to stay up-to-date on those deadlines to ensure you aren’t missing any opportunities to enroll your child in the following school year.

9. Listen to Your Child’s Ideas and Concerns

Your child won’t be an expert on picking a school—that’s your role! However, they will be able to provide valuable opinions that are worth listening to.

While you don’t want to base your school choice solely on your child, you do want to validate and listen to their concerns, questions, and ideas, to select a school that will be the right fit for everyone involved.

Be Selective When Picking Your School

Your child’s school will become a big part of his or her life—you want to choose wisely!

The best San Diego Catholic school is one that combines strong learning with immersive religious education in ways that will encourage and inspire your child academically, socially, and emotionally.

To learn more about Notre Dame Academy and to see if we are a good fit for your child/children, head to the enrollment page and schedule a tour.