7 Things You Can Do To Find The Right Private Elementary School In L.A.

Photo credit: Nick Amoscato (Flickr Creative Commons License)
Photo credit: Nick Amoscato (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Conquer these essentials and you’ll be more likely to find a school that truly fits your kid and your parenting style.


1. Understand the type of school (traditional, developmental, progressive, religious, Waldorf). Many schools are a hybrid of philosophies.


2. Think about your kid’s learning style and the environment that will be best for them…can you picture your kid at the school?


3. Assess the culture of the school (who are the other parents, is it laid back or strict, etc.). Do the parents look like hippies and artists or golfers and bankers? I got this one very wrong in a big way at The Willows…the culture of that school was never the right fit for our family.


4. Geography. Can you get there and back daily. Where do the other families live?


5. Tuition cost. Private schools can cost $8000/year or $30,000/year for K. There are costs in addition to tuition (enrollment fee ($1,500) annual fund, enrichment, field trips, uniforms, hot lunch).


6. Financial aid. Try to determine whether a school has a generous financial aid budget. Look at the percent of the school’s budget allocated to financial aid…listed on the website or in the annual report. Schools with endowments are typically more likely to have robust financial aid budgets, but smaller schools can offer generous financial aid packages too.


7. Trust your intuition. The most popular schools (or the most expensive) aren’t always the BEST schools!


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at csimon2007@gmail.com

2 thoughts to “7 Things You Can Do To Find The Right Private Elementary School In L.A.”

  1. What would you say the culture of The Willows is? We are looking at that school as a possible choice. Thanks!

    1. Hi Beth, thanks for reading! I’ve written so much about The Willows on this blog and my pieces highlight both my positive and negative experiences. I don’t want to try to summarize the school’s culture in a few words. I try to let my writing illustrate why the school wasn’t a good fit for me or my family. It might very well be a fit for your family, however. Best, Christina

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