There is a lot of uncertainty right now about what schools and universities are going to look like in the future. As online learning becomes more common, one of the key aspects of attending local schools and colleges - socialization - may be greatly reduced. Our children will be challenged to develop the critical social skills that are an integral part of their growth during their time at home, their time in a college environment, and later will influence their ability to have a successful career, part of which is getting along with others.
Parents are realizing that it might be time to consider boarding schools as a way to slowly and calmly open the door to the future. It’s possible that, at least for the next few years, boarding schools can begin the development of social pragmatics and more. Is it possible that those "dreams" of sitting together in the cafeteria, joining social groups, attending get-togethers, meeting students from all over the country and the world, and simply hanging out can happen on a boarding school campus? The answer is yes.
What does a Boarding School offer? This is just a shortlist of the many possibilities for your child:
- Class size is around 10 - 12 and "student-centered."
- Teachers adapt classwork around passions that stimulate the discussion.
- Faculty teachers are available for students outside of office hours.
- Dorm friends walk for meals together.
- Clubs and activities during the day.
- Communities with a commitment to service.
- Faculty and staff invested in students' outcomes sometimes serving multiple roles, teachers, coaches, and dorm parents.
- Afternoon programming supports interests in sports, arts, music and awakens interests not available at home.
- Mealtimes allow socialization with friends.
- Free time is about connecting with friends, speaking with parents or catching up on homework.
- Study Hall provides a consistent and dedicated time to focus on academics.
- Dorm parents are available to talk, assist with conflict resolution and answer homework questions, among other things.
- Meet other students from across the country and from around the world.
- Experience sports not tried before, sing in a choir, try acting in a play, TRY NEW THINGS (not encouraged by their parents instead of by peers or teachers/community)
- Don't have to take transportation to go from one activity to another.
It is possible for some students when they first arrive at boarding schools to experience home-sickness, but it ebbs pretty quickly with the support of the Dorm Parents and peers. The "mini" college appeal of a boarding school may be a very effective way of giving our children a place to find less stress and greater self-discovery.
Many boarding schools are opening in the fall of 2020, even with COVID-19. They are following state and local guidelines. They are creating pods/families/groups in dorms. Boarding Schools, like small colleges around the United States, are creating closed campuses. They are getting creative. Boarding Schools are an expensive education option and spending money on a boarding school rather than college will assist in the growth and maturation as Colleges and Universities around the globe figure out how they are evolving through the pandemic. Boarding Schools are an option for socialization for teens.
About the Author
Imy Wax, M.S., LCPC, NBCC, CEP is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC), Certified Educational Planner (CEP), Educational and Therapeutic Consultant and the co-author of The K&W Guide to Colleges For Students with Learning Differences (13th edition, Random House/Princeton Review). Additionally, Imy has authored numerous articles in parent and professional journals, has presented at workshops both in the U.S. and abroad on a variety of topics, and has been quoted in numerous popular publications. She is the founder of The Aspire Group that helps families seeking opportunities for their loved one.