A great private school doesn't just educate its students; it prepares them to take their rightful place in the world. During the teen years, a young person's view of the world widens to embrace a global perspective. The best private schools in Toronto help students understand their broadening view of society and participate in the world around them.
The School Community
First, a student learns to participate in and contribute to his or her school. In top private schools, respect and affection for the school community is apparent in students' attire, in the way they behave towards one another and in how they speak about their school. Private schools usually have a clearly articulated vision of who they are and what they stand for. When families choose a school with a vision that suits their own values, it helps to ensure that they will feel a part of that school's community.
Numerous aspects of private school life help to build school "spirit.” Students form rewarding relationships with teachers and they learn to work with classmates by participating in cooperative projects. Small class sizes allow students to become familiar with and appreciate, or at least tolerate, differing viewpoints. Intramural house systems promote friendly competition within the school community, while extra-curricular sports create friendships between teammates and carry the school's values outside of its walls. Clubs and teams solidify bonds between students and allow individuals to learn and apply leadership skills.
The Broader Community
The best private schools are fully integrated into their local communities. In Toronto, students have numerous opportunities to participate in the life of the city. Some curriculums have a community service component, which encourages students to help their fellow Torontonians in a direct and experiential way. Most private schools organize charity fundraisers. Through lively classroom discussions, students can debate local issues and gain an understanding of the area's economics. City councilors and other notable citizens may make classroom visits or address the entire student body. Courses that examine the history of the city, the province and the country further promote understanding of the community in which students live.
The Global Perspective
Many of tomorrow's leaders will come from private schools and these institutions are striving to make their student population as diverse as possible. Co-education, opening the doors to international students and ensuring accessibility are all ways to ensure that a microcosm of the world is represented within the school. Academic courses within private schools offer opportunities for students to learn languages, world issues, world history and to study Canada's role in global affairs. Some schools even give lectures focused on international law, politics and economics. Of course, debate about global political and economic matters is a time-honored private school tradition; a way to help young people comprehend and interpret the world around us.
Our children are poised to enter a world that appears more complex, more dangerous and more uncertain than ever before. Private schools are preparing students to deal with that complexity by rooting them in their own communities and by guiding them towards a well-rounded understanding of global issues. The best private schools in Toronto help to ensure that their students will go on to play leadership roles in the world they will inherit.