Why An Independent PreK-8 School?
Why an independent school?
Independent schools are mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations. Governed by a board of trustees usually made of parents, alumni, and community leaders, an independent school is just that – independent. A school like Canterbury does not report to a public board or depend on public funding. The benefits for students and parents include:
- a curriculum not driven by state mandates or standardized testing but based on the school’s mission and values
- small class size and low student-teacher ratio
- a whole-child education that nurtures a child’s personal and spiritual growth
- a school that values and encourages active parent involvement
- high academic standards
Why a PreK-8 school?
People sometimes ask if Canterbury will ever add a high school. The answer is that Canterbury was intended to be a PreK-8th grade school because that configuration uniquely prepares children for academic success.
PreK-8th grade schools can focus time, energy, and resources on the unique developmental needs of early childhood and early adolescence. Without a high school on campus, younger children don’t feel any pressure to grow up too soon, and middle school students are treated as and expected to be leaders.
Because middle school students are in a period of rapidly changing social, emotional, and physical development, they benefit from a small learning community that allows them to develop close relationships to teachers, other adults, and their peers.
As the “big kids” on campus, Canterbury middle school students are given a wide range of leadership opportunities and feel safe to try new things within a supportive community of teachers and learners. They take on the roles of mentors to younger students, have opportunities to play on sports teams, and lead activities such as student government and outreach projects.
The transition from Canterbury to high school is a healthy one. When a child is entering kindergarten, it’s impossible to predict the best high school for that child, but by 8th grade, the process of choosing a high school will be a learning experience that mirrors the process four years later of choosing a college. In addition, most 8th graders want to have a say in the kind of community and learning environment that will benefit them the most in high school.
Canterbury’s excellent high school placement program helps parents and students explore their choices. Over the years, Canterbury has sent roughly 63 percent of its graduates to a public high school, 20 percent to a local independent school, 11 percent to boarding school, and 6 percent to magnet or specialty public schools.
Canterbury graduates are prepared to succeed in any setting because their years at a small PreK-8 school have given them a solid academic background, spiritual grounding, and confidence in any situation.