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What is a Country Day School?

Day schools strive to create close-knit learning communities similar to college prep boarding schools, with one big difference. Country day schools allow students to return to their homes and families at the end of the day. Keep reading to learn more about what a country day school is and whether it could be right for you or your child. 

The history of country day schools

The founding of country day schools (which evolved into the suburban day schools of today) was part of the progressive educational movement that occurred in the late 19th century. In order to avoid the crime and pollution in the early 1900s, certain schools were established in the “country” rather than in the heart of industrialized cities. The aim was to give children “fresh air and sunshine” while they were immersed in a rigorous academic learning environment.  

Related: Private vs public K-12: What to consider

What are country day schools today? 

Day schools are private schools that offer a K-12 education. Day schools have a more rigorous academic curriculum, although some offer special education classes as well. Most day school campuses design their school buildings and landscaping to be both inspirational and aesthetic. 

In order to foster the academic learning environment for students, most day schools offer programs to promote student development in a variety of extracurricular areas. 

Some examples of country day school programs include: 

  • Athletic programs
  • Religious studies
  • Choir or other music focused programs
  • Study time

What are some pros and cons of day school compared to boarding school?

Pros of day school

  • Cost is less than boarding school
  • Balanced social life
  • Able to separate school and home

Cons of day school

  • Transportation logistics
  • More parental involvement is expected
  • Offer fewer first-person global perspectives due to smaller international student populations

Don’t miss: Where to find private K-12 scholarships

What are some of  the main differences between a day school and a boarding school? 

Day schools are educational institutions in which students attend classes at the school but return home at the end of every day. In contrast, boarding schools are residential schools where students live on campus when school is in session. 

Benefits of day school vs boarding school

Benefits of day school Benefits of boarding school
Overall tuition tends to be significantly lower than the tuition of boarding school Able to save money on normal child rearing expenses
Students have more freedom to vary their outside of school environment Allows students to fully commit to school life
Students are able to spend a significant amount of time with their families during the school year Family time might  be of higher quality due to the separation during the school year
Allows parents to “be there” for the student  Allows students to become independent

Further reading

We offer some related articles that may of interest since you found yourself here. Check out “How much does boarding school cost?” and “What is a Montessori school? as well!

Frequently asked questions about day schools

How much does day school cost?

Day school is typically a private school, which means there is a tuition fee for students to attend. The price of tuition differs based on the specific school. Therefore, reach out to the day school of interest to find out more information about cost. According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the median average tuition for all grades in US day schools was $28,117 for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Do day schools offer financial aid?

Yes, day schools do offer financial aid to students who qualify. According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS):
  • Approximately 24.5 percent of students at day schools received financial aid
  • The average grant to students at day schools who received financial aid was $11,500