by Elizabeth Muraiti

Private Schools Vancouver: How To Find the Very Best

by Elizabeth Muraiti

The private schools Vancouver landscape can be overwhelming, with dozens of top-rated schools. Here’s how to get to grips and find the very best for your child.

When sending their children to daycare or preschool, first-time parents often wonder if the time away from home will cause issues. The answer is no, as long as the time doesn’t exceed 40 hours and it’s a quality care center.

Quality care makes all the difference, and that principle follows children to elementary school and high school. Reports show that the better quality the teacher is, the better children do in the long run.

What do private schools have in aces over public? Smaller class sizes, which allows for higher quality teacher contact. Private schools in Vancouver generally do well in this arena.

Now that you know one reason you should choose private school over public, let’s look at how to pick the right school for your student below.

If you’ve just moved to our fair (albeit rainy) city, welcome! If you’re looking forward towards kindergarten or grade 1, you’re almost certainly wondering what you should be looking for in an elementary school.

Vancouver has some of the best private schools in Canada. To find the perfect fit, you need to ask yourself some questions about what you value in education.

You’ll need to talk with current/past teachers to figure out your child’s strengths and weaknesses academically, socio-emotionally, and physically.

Then, you need to find out how your child’s future elementary school is going to support your child in all three of these key areas.

Let’s look at the questions you need to ask yourself below:

What Do You Value in Education?

Each parent has a different expectation for their child’s schooling. Yes, we all expect them to learn and stay safe, but how will they learn best? And in what environment?

Class Sizes

Generally speaking, the smaller the class size, the better education the child gets. However, there are some parameters to add to this.

Students in smaller classes have fewer students to pick from as friends. At the same time, it’s a catch-22 to expect your child to have lots of other potential friends to choose from, because then you’re losing the benefits of small class sizes.

Most people want to find a school with a happy medium. One teacher for 15 students is a good amount. Class sizes should be small enough for the teacher to know each and every student exceedingly well.

What is more, the school size should be small enough that the school administrative staff know their own school community: students, teachers, parents, etc. Let’s face it, some private schools are just too big for their own good!

What Type of Educational Approach Do You Value?

Some private schools have a focus. Some are art or technology-based, some are child-led, while others entirely are back-to-basics. What do you want for your child?

If you had a back-to-basics education yourself, you may not know any different – that’s not an excuse not to do your research, though. There are more progressive learning methods and teaching styles that show more success than others.

One of those is project-based learning. Instead of experiencing a term in a textbook and memorizing it, students in PBL programs get to apply it.

This is not only the best option for multiple types of intelligence and learning styles, but it prepares children for the real world.

You may not be thinking about how marketable your child needs to be for jobs 15 years down the line, but PBL sets them up for success.

Think about when there’s a project at work that you don’t know how to handle, but you have to work through. Now imagine if you’d spent your entire childhood learning exactly like that. You’d breeze through that problem in a snap.

How Involved are Parents?

There’s always one or two parents in every class that are very involved. Then there are a few that send their kids on the bus and pick them up on the corner.

We’re not here to parent-shame, but students that have higher parental involvement learn better and stay in school longer.

Not only does your effort as a parent help broaden and enrich your child’s education, but taking an active interest in education shows your child that education is important and that they should care, too.

Ask your potential school how involved parents are in general and for examples. What can you do to help your child?

How often do parents and teachers communicate and in which ways? This will give you a glimpse into the level of detail schools go through to keep parents in the loop.

What’s the School’s Philosophy?

Each school has a different philosophy. While public school’s philosophy may be to provide the best education – they only have so many resources available.

The philosophy will likely relate back to the general learning style. For example, a school with project-based learning will have a very hands-on philosophy and approach to learning.

How does the school see extracurricular activities? Do they see them as extra or do they blend them into the daily education plan?

At the same time, any great school will prioritise the quality of their teaching staff. Without exceptional teachers, a school simply cannot deliver on its promises. You should be able to find this information on the school’s website.

You may find a school is not right for you that easily!

Do Two Visits

When choosing a private school, it’s essential that you visit the ones you’re interested in. Once you’ve done your research and answered the questions above, go check out the school for yourself.

Do your initial visits alone through an open house. Take your child with you when you narrow down the list. Keep in mind that your child may have different values than you do when it comes to picking out a school.

If they’re young, it’s probably much more trivial than what you’re thinking about. Do they have an awesome playground? Do the classrooms seem fun and colorful?

The amount of choice you give your child when picking out a new school really depends on their age and maturity – but they should feel like you listen to their opinion.

Even if you don’t pick their favorite school, let them know why and communicate the reasons for your choice.

Yes, you’re paying for it, but it’s their education after all.


Finally, there are practical aspects to picking the best private schools in Vancouver. You’re not going to feasibly take your child all the way across town for an 8:30 drop off and make it back to work at 9.

Do they offer before-school care? Can you hire a nanny for pick up and drop off? Talk to your school about the resources they offer for parents.

In the end, it’s a mix of values, practicality, and the personality of your child that guide your school choice.

Want to give us a visit and see if we’re a good fit? Attend one of our upcoming open houses.