There has never been greater pressure on parenting than there is now in the 21st Century. Whether this is how you feed your new-born baby; how long you wait until returning to work; whether or not you have plastic toys; which sports club your child should join; and most relevantly to this article, the decisions you make to educate your child. The important thing to remember is that you have a choice.
The model of state school education has remained mostly unchanged since its inception in the 19th Century. The standardisation of textbooks, teachers, classroom organisation and curriculum were built to offer the same opportunities to every child1. Every child still has a set number of outcomes at a set age in set subjects with clear disciplinary lines between them. Sir Ken Robinson2 reflects on how schooling systems resemble factory lines as a result of the time in which they were conceived. Children are educated by their 'date of manufacture' and are exposed to a specific set of conditions, regardless of their response to it.
Developing a state school system where every child receives an education is a challenging feat. With budget restraints and tradition holding firm, classrooms of 25-35 children are a regular occurrence and teachers are often stretched beyond their limits, while at the same time being controlled by tight expectations.
The Nova Scotian Government has realised that development is necessary and have already started to make changes3. However, these changes need to consider the changing world we live in, the world we are educating our children to be in in the future, and to look at what other world-leading governments and school systems are doing across the globe. Nova Scotia is currently scoring low in areas such as Science and Reading4 and students are falling behind their peers in the top provinces and, especially, internationally.
The Booker School is a registered private school and was founded in order to democratise education in the area and to offer something different for the families in the Annapolis Valley. We follow the Primary Years Programme5 from the International Baccalaureate and look to gain full accreditation over the next five years. This program recognises the skills and needs of individuals, offers a comprehensive curriculum that breaks down the barriers of the disciplines, adding context and meaning to the different subject areas. It promotes well-rounded individuals through the IB Learner Profile:
The IB's PYP offers an inclusive program and provides a challenging, significant and meaningful program for the students. At The Booker School, our teachers are experienced and professional individuals who offer a caring, stimulating and supportive environment for the children in our care. We have rigorous employment policies to ensure we have the best in leadership and innovation for our community. By doing so, one of our teachers has been names as a finalist for this year's Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching6. We have small classroom sizes which allow our children to thrive and get the support they need to reach their full potential. Finally, we are a community. We promote a culture of support and collaboration, a community where students and teachers want to get the best out of each other as well as themselves.
As you think about where you are sending your child this September and beyond, consider what education means to you and your family. If you would like to know more about what we offer or are considering becoming a part of our caring, supportive and inspiring community, contact our Head of School at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting. As an independent not-for-profit charitable organisation, we have a set tuition fee but also offer scholarships and incentives to make it more accessible for our community. We hope one day to be involved in education reform in the province so that all of Nova Scotia can have a choice in how their child is educated. Invest in education today, for the success of your child now and in the future.