Effects of Boarding School on Children

Photo of a homesick boy at boarding school

Most parents consider the boarding school effect on children prior to enrolling their child in this form of education. The close-knit communal living of boarding school appeals to many children and parents for differing reasons. While parents who enroll their children in boarding school normally do so with hopes of reaping the educational benefits, children are often excited to build lifelong relationships with their peers. Here's a look at some of the common advantages and disadvantages to boarding school and what to consider before submitting applications.

About Boarding Schools

Unlike a traditional private or public school, boarding school students live and learn on campus. The term "boarding" is derived from the term "room and board." Children attending boarding school eat their meals with their fellow pupils and teachers, and lodge with them in dormitory buildings or small housing structures. Like most traditional educational institutions, most boarding schools close during the holidays, providing the students ample time off to spend with their families. Although not as common, some boarding schools even permit students to travel off campus on weekends to visit with family. Although admittance age may vary, most boarding schools cater to students grades 7 thru 12, with children spending the majority of their adolescent years away from home.

College Prep vs. Therapeutic Schools

Contrary to myth, not every boarding school is packed with wealthy students obtaining an exclusive higher education. In fact, there are two main types of boarding schools, therapeutic and college prep. College prep schools are aimed to provide a quality education while motivating students to excel in their studies. Therapeutic boarding schools are a common solution for the student who is experiencing a variety of family or personal difficulties, including drug or alcohol abuse, learning challenges, and behavioral problems.

Positive and Negative Boarding School Effect on Children

Boarding school and its long term living arrangement has a significant impact on a family unit. While some parents and children may prefer this unconventional lifestyle, the boarding school effect on children who enjoy the comforts of home may be too extreme long-term.

The following positive and negative effects are most common amongst students who attend boarding school.

Positive Effects

There are plenty of reasons to consider a boarding school if your child struggles with a traditional form of education or has social or family woes impairing his or her education and general sense of well-being.

  • It's easy to build lifelong companionships when you're living in close quarters with your peers.
  • Campus living can be a nurturing environment for children who lack this close-knit social and family structure at home. An accessible faculty is another perk for boarding school students, helping them to advance academically while building positive and thriving mentorships.
  • Diversity is yet another positive influence for boarding school children. Enrolled pupils come from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. If you want to expand your horizons and have unlimited exposure to a wide range of people and personalities, boarding school is a great way to build diversity.
  • Not only is education challenging and engaging, students tend to thrive in the small teacher-to- student ratios provided in boarding school settings.

Negative Effects

Of course, with every positive there is bound to be a few negatives. Boarding school is not the perfect solution for every child.

  • Before enrolling your child in a boarding school, you'll want to make sure you've exhausted all other options and ensure that your reasons for boarding will outweigh the potential negative pitfalls.
  • Children who have gone through traumatic experiences such as family illness, loss or divorce, or those who suffer from depression, are not likely the best candidates for boarding.
  • Make sure your child is mentally stable enough to spend time apart from her family unit to ensure her happiness at an institution.

Fleeing the nest and living away from home can be a big challenge for many students. Fortunately, computer/Internet access and cell phones have increased the number of ways families stay in touch. If you opt for a weekends-off school, your child can make a special trip home on weekends to spend quality time within the family unit. Losing touch with family is generally the hardest adjustment for boarding school students, along with their lack of privacy and freedom.

Choose Carefully

Whether you're considering boarding school for yourself or your child, make sure you further your knowledge so that you can make the most informed decision. For further reading, visit a reputable website such as Boarding School Review to crack the typical boarding school myths and locate a boarding facility within your budget and means.

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Effects of Boarding School on Children