Differences Between Progressive and Traditional Schools (Part 5)

Traditional School
Traditional Schools: Barbie is just a toy, not a political statement or a cause of bad body image among young girls
Traditional Schools: Barbie is just a toy, not a political statement or a cause of bad body image among young girls. 

Progressive School

Progressive Schools: Toys are eco-friendly and their origin is important.

Progressive Schools: Toys are eco-friendly and their origin is important.

Traditional School

Traditional Schools: What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned hamburger?
Traditional Schools: What’s wrong with a good, old-fashioned hamburger?

Progressive School 

Progressive Schools: Vegan options are offered for hot lunch at some private progressive schools
Progressive Schools: Vegan options are offered for hot lunch at some progressive private schools.

 Traditional School

Traditional Schools: Uniforms reflect the school's culture
Traditional Schools: Uniforms reflect the school’s culture and help guard against over-the-top outfits.

Progressive School

Progressive Schools: Hipster kids dress the part (Singer Gwen Stephani's kids)
Progressive Schools: Hipster kids dress the part (Singer Gwen Stephani’s kids)

 Traditional School

Violin
Traditional Schools: Structure is necessary for learning.

Progressive School

Progressive Schools: Kids learn through play
Progressive Schools: Kids learn through play using found objects.

 

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Revisiting Our Oakwood School Kindergarten Visiting Day

Oakwood School
Oakwood School

I’ve written about my daughter’s kindergarten visiting day at Oakwood School previously. Here’s my recollection about that morning again. Did I make the right school choice? I’ll never know, but I’m looking forward now that our family is THRILLED to be at Viewpoint School. We truly fit in there in a way we never did at The Willows. But, if we hadn’t gone to The Willows, would we be at Viewpoint now? 

 

It was early and I was nervous. With my daughter in the car, we drove to the 8 a.m. “visiting day,” one of the requirements of the private school kindergarten admissions process. The school was more than 30 minutes from our house, traffic was bad and I mistakenly went to the high school rather than the elementary school. Frazzled and arriving with a minute to spare, I arrived at the correct location, a progressive school on a rustic campus.

 

After a brief time in the school library with our kids, parents were asked to go into a conference room for a meet and greet with the head of school. At the same time, our kids were taken into classrooms with teachers for various for visiting day.

 

This was the aspect of the admissions process that filled me with anxiety, since a lot depends on how your 4-5 year-old is feeling the day of the visit and how he/she acts when you arrive at the school.  As soon as we got there, my usually shy daughter turned on her biggest, most charming personality (one I had only seen at home). Feeling very comfortable in the library, she pulled some books off the shelf and began reading in a loud voice. The admissions director turned to look at her, clearly impressed. Now that she had an audience (the best possible audience, I might add), my daughter continued reading other parents and kids turned to watch.

 

Relieved, I went with other parents into the conference room for what turned out to be a chance to ask questions of the head of school. This, you should note, is a time to ask smart, well-formulated questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the school. It’s also a good time to find something nice to say about the place you want to accept your kid. The room was filled with parents who already had older kids at the school, so they were confident about the process and even joked about their chances of getting in. The competition for spots at this popular school was no joke.

 

After about an hour, my daughter emerged from the classroom bursting with enthusiasm. We thanked the staff and left.

 

I didn’t have to ask my kid if it has gone well. I knew. She’d nailed it. The look on her face told me everything. In March, we received our acceptance letter from the school.

 

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5 Big Differences Between Traditional and Progressive Schools: Part 2

Boy on the monkey bars

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.

 

  • Progressive elementary schools utilize play-based projects to encourage learning. In a progressive school, student initiated projects (or projects developed with student input) are more common. In traditional schools, teachers develop lesson plans and projects for students to work on.
  • Traditional elementary and middle schools emphasize formal activities like Cotillion. Manners and proper greetings are considered essential.
  • Progressive schools place less importance on standardized testing. The curriculum of progressive schools is not specifically designed to prepare kids for standard tests. However, some progressive schools may give practice tests to help kids prepare for these exams.
  • Traditional schools encourage friendly one-on-one competition among kids through writing contests, math contests, valedictorian and tryouts for sports teams. Contest results and honor rolls are posted for students and parents to see in traditional schools.
  • Progressive schools typically reward achievements of the elementary school class or grade rather than individual acknowledgements.

See Differences Between Traditional and Progressive Schools Part 1 HERE

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