Five Big Differences Between Traditional and Developmental/Progressive Private Schools

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Many L.A. private schools are a hybrid of educational philosophies, a blend of school types (traditional, developmental and progressive) that define each institution. However, there are schools that are purely traditional or progressive and have chosen not to incorporate a mix of educational philosophies. Any of these school types can offer an academically challenging, intellectually rigorous learning environment. Selecting a school depends on your preferences as a parent and finding the best fit for your kid.


Here are 5 differences between traditional and developmental/progressive schools:


1. Traditional schools tend to teach critical thinking in conjunction with heavy content acquisition. Developmental/Progressive schools are more focused on the process of learning than detailed content acquisition. Teachers are interested in what students know in traditional schools. Developmental/progressive schools want to know what students think.


2. The curriculum at developmental/progressive schools includes more project based learning, where kids work in groups and projects can take a week or more.


3. Traditional schools have more homework, tests and quizzes. They tend to use textbooks more often than developmental/progressive schools.


4. The report cards and grading systems are very different. Developmental/Progressive schools tend to use narrative written reports for elementary school. Traditional schools use grades and/or numeric evaluation methods.


5. Academic achievement is celebrated in traditional schools. Honor lists are posted, students discuss grades. Developmental/progressive schools de-emphasize the focus on public display of individual academic success.




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Guest Blogger Susanna: The Los Angeles Private School Mom’s Alphabet (yes, it’s snarky!)


Jackson 5


The Los Angeles Private School Mom’s Alphabet (we’re not totally exempt…only for the most obnoxious stuff)


A is for ass-kissing for admissions

B is for buying your way in

C is for carb-free

D is for donations

E is for Einstein- every parent has one

F is for frenemies

G is for gardening- organic and by a professional gardener

H is for hidden costs

I is for injectables

J is for juicing

K is for karma- it’s going to be a bitch

L is for luxury items needed for the auction

M is for middle school hysteria

N is for never ending donations

O is OMG. Enough with the drama already!

P is personal everything: trainer, chef, assistant

Q is for quack doctors to make you look younger

R is for running every committee

S is for social climbing

T is for two-faced- best watch your back outside of committee meetings!

U is for the underserved students we raise money for once a year

V is for vaccination controversies

W is for world travel on every vacation and long weekend

X is for the number raised with the annual fundraiser- no one knows the amount

Y is for yoga pants

Z is for the zen you achieve when you realize elementary school won’t last forever.


Susanna Morgan’s attend a Los Angeles private elementary school. Susanna’s definitely not June Cleaver. A parenting non-expert and mom of two boys, she returned her pearls to her ex-husband’s family as part of their divorce. And now she’s reclaiming the life she wants. The pearls are off…


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