Are Single-Sex Classrooms Better for My Child’s Learning?

Are Single-Sex Classrooms Better for My Child’s Learning?

The benefits of single-gender classrooms in schools

As any parent will tell you, there’s so much to think about when choosing a school for your child. School is a place where children will spend nearly one-third of their day, and it is important to be comfortable with an environment in which they will continue to develop their personality, learning habits, and build upon what they are taught at home. Therefore, one of the top things for parents take into consideration is with whom their children will learn—and that often involves considering the pros and cons of single-gender and conventional, coed classrooms.

During my many years as the deputy head of Wetherby Preparatory School, an all-boys primary school, I’ve worked with many families as they navigate the school selection process, looking for an environment in which they believe their children will flourish. Through this experience, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand the pronounced benefits of a single-sex classroom as young children establish and develop their academic interests.

Research has shown that for many students, single-gender classrooms foster an environment in which children feel more comfortable and confident to pursue whatever subjects interest them. This means, for example, that girls may feel more empowered to study STEM subjects. A study by the Institute of Physics found that girls in single-gender classrooms were more likely to take advanced level physics courses than their counterparts in coed classrooms. In single-gender environments, girls are also believed to be more confident sharing their opinions. But girls aren’t the only ones who benefit. Single-gender classrooms also help boys establish a level of self-confidence without being burdened by the effects of long-standing academic gender stereotypes. 

While single-sex classrooms foster an academic environment prime for learning, it’s also necessary that children learn to develop the social-emotional skills that are the product of a coed environment. Plus, some parents feel that coed schools more accurately reflect the diversity that makes our societies strong.

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