New Yorkers have a myriad selection of private schools in which to send their children. A child in New York City can have a tailored education based on certain specialties or subject tracks or even countries. Many New York families choose to send their children to international schools so that their kids can be exposed to cultures and teachings from around the world. More recently British schools like Wetherby-Pembridge on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, have been popping up with a mission to combine the best of British education with that of the United States’. For instance, Wetherby-Pembridge offers English National Curriculum for English, Math, and Science, but teaches History, Social Studies and languages following the US curriculum model. This way kids, quite literally, get the best of both worlds.
At schools like Wetherby-Pembridge, British education is combined with a New York approach to curriculum. “Our curriculum marries the distinguishing strengths of the British and New York educational systems to offer a unique option to families that seek both academic rigor and a forward-thinking approach to teaching”, says Head of School, Kate Bailey. British schools generally work one year ahead of the U.S. curriculum for the same age group. This prepares young learners to enter an ever-more competitive field of ongoing education and follows this challenging pace in literacy, mathematics, and science. This is the foundation at Wetherby-Pembridge and it’s complemented with core additions from other schools in New York City, namely inquiry-based learning, child-centered teaching, and content that is immediately relevant to students’ lives.
Children start at age 3 with Nursery & Reception--or Preschool & Prekindergarten as it is known here in the States--which is taught in a co-educational setting, so classes will include both boys and girls. However, from Year 1 or Kindergarten and onward boys go into a form which is called Wetherby and the girls will go to a form which is called Pembridge Hall. “The students will have ample opportunities to experience co-curricular activities together,” says Bailey. “But they will be taught separately."
"Research and our experience as educators have proven that single-sex education fosters an environment in which children feel more comfortable and encouraged to pursue whatever subjects most interest them, without the effects of long-standing academic gender stereotypes. For example, girls are more likely to pursue STEM subjects when they are taught in a classroom with only other girls," says Bailey. “At the same time, we believe that it is necessary for children to develop the social emotional skills that are a product of a co-ed environment. Fostering a school-wide community through co-ed activities, assemblies, community service projects and extracurricular activities will allow the boys’ and girls’ divisions to interact and form bonds.”
And while the school originated in London it aims to work closely with students to develop competitive academic strengths in preparation for entry examinations here in the States. Students also have the chance to experience a unique dual offering of World History and Social Studies. In Years 1 and 2 (Kindergarten and Grade 1) children will explore multiple languages with the family choosing a single Language Track for Years 3-6 (Grade 2 to 5). British education also includes enrichment programs in music, art, speech and drama, dance and movement, and an extensive after-school clubs program.
While there may be many differences between the culture of Britain and the culture of New York, when you combine the best aspects of their educational systems, you simply can’t go wrong. For new Yorkers who hope to offer their children an international childhood, British education just may be the way to go.
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