You Can Tell A Lot About A Private School By…

…the school’s events.



When I was looking at private elementary schools for my daughter, one of the clues that helped me decide whether my family would be a good fit for a school were the type of annual events the school held. All private elementary schools hold special events throughout the year. These events reflect the culture of the school and its families. I was interested in schools that were progressive/developmental and modern. Anything old fashioned didn’t interest me. If the campus, the teachers or the curriculum had an old fashioned vibe, we didn’t apply. I felt that my family would be happiest at a school where kids didn’t wear traditional uniforms and one that was in an urban area. My husband, a college math major, didn’t want any schools with “fuzzy math” as he put it. I wanted diversity and the dynamic energy that comes with an urban school.


As soon as I walked into The Willows School, it had me from “hello” as they say. That being said, there was one school that I wasn’t expecting to love, but I came away from the tour in awe of the school. Unfortunately, this school, Brentwood School, was way too far from our house for elementary school. Still, I have it in mind for high school.


Here are some typical private elementary school events that will give you clues as to the type of school it is:


  • Ice cream social – fairly traditional
  • Golf extravaganza-traditional. If it’s at an exclusive, pricey country club, very traditional
  • Eco-clean up -progressive/developmental
  • Book Fair– fits into any category
  • Annual tennis tournamenttraditional
  • Annual, mandatory camping trip-progressive/developmental
  • Large percentage of students involved in Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts– traditional
  • Any school event at a private country clubfairly traditional
  • Event with a “star spangled banner” theme- traditional
  • Annual event to honor diverse cultures from around the world-progressive/developmental/traditional
  • Salute to the flag-traditional
  • Charitable events like feeding the homeless- Fit into any category
  • Events that are green, global, organic – progressive




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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

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