Why Boarding School may be beneficial for your child

There are many reasons why families might decide to send their children to board on campus at school. Traditionally, boarding has been considered a great option for students from remote areas or overseas who are seeking education opportunities outside their local area. However, Boarding School also has many benefits for those who live locally. Sending your child to Boarding School offers them the opportunity to develop their life skills, create useful study habits and independence and build lifelong friendships and connections.

What is weekly or short stay boarding?

Most of us are familiar with the full time boarding experience where the students’ school becomes their home away from home, however, weekly and short stay boarding models are becoming increasingly more popular. Under a weekly boarding arrangement, students will stay on campus during the week and go home on weekends experiencing the best of both worlds. Short stay boarding models will see students stay on campus on a casual basis, they may stay one night or they may stay one month depending on the circumstances of the family creating a true Air BnB style experience for the student.

This style of stay may also benefit those working parents who travel to-and-from the city for work. Students can stay in the boarding house during the week, ensuring their meals are taken care of and reducing the stress on working parents.

Benefits of boarding school

In Australia, over 14,566 students board on campus with over 140 schools offering opportunities for boarding. We’ve compiled a list of benefits for families and students considering a boarding school experience whether that be full time or under a weekly or short stay arrangement.

1. Opportunity to develop life skills & independence

Boarding School teaches students a great lesson in what it means to be independent and responsible for themselves. Whilst the school offers meals, accommodation, supervision and support, students learn valuable skills including time management, organisation, and important life skills which they can develop from as young as Year 7. This might include keeping their accommodation clean, cooking for themselves in the common room and even looking after their own washing!

A study by The Association of Boarding Schools, (TABS) showed that 78% of Boarding School students felt well prepared for the non-academic aspects of life and reported increased independence and enhanced time management skills. All of these aspects are important and students who board on campus are exposed to developing these life skills to set them up for life after school.

2. Improved social skills

As a child begins to develop their first social skills their parents and siblings are able to provide them with all they require. However, as children grow and become more socially adept, their most important interactions will involve their peer group. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, children had fewer opportunities to develop their social skills both in and outside of school. By enrolling your child into weekly or short stay boarding, they will not only have these experiences reintroduced into their everyday lives but will do so in an experience rich environment. Students will improve their negotiation skills, sharing, social cues and empathy skills and also experience the feeling of what it is to be truly seen and valued by your peers. An invaluable lesson for your children in developing self-confidence.

3. Broaden personal views

Australia is a wonderfully diverse country with our Boarding Schools reflecting this landscape. Students who attend an Australian Boarding School will become more aware of diversity in all of its forms including, but not limited to, cultural, religious, physical abilities and age. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to an array of opinions and beliefs acquire stronger social skills and improved confidence. Boarding Schools provide an environment where students from diverse backgrounds are taught to work, live and socialise together. They learn how to approach situations and people with an open mind and welcoming different perspectives which helps them grow as individuals. There is no greater preparation for life beyond school than having friends from different backgrounds and an appreciation of people as individuals.

4. Working families

With fresh meals prepared daily, organised transport to sporting games, allocated study times and access to school facilities after hours, it is easy to understand how Boarding Schools appeal to parents. Since June 2020, we have seen a 5.6% increase in families where both partners are employed and with numerous co-curricular activities and programs on offer, families may find it hard to attend to their children’s busy schedules. If your child is boarding on a weekly or short stay basis, the school provides transport to and from these activities allowing children and parents to focus on the meaningful parts of these experiences and not the rushing to and fro. It also provides an opportunity for the family unit to invest quality time with one another when it counts and provides a greater appreciation for the time spent together as a family.

How to prepare your child for Boarding School

The decision to choose a Boarding School for your child can be a difficult one and students may at first be hesitant about being away from home. Once deciding that Boarding School is the right choice for your child, there are some strategies that may make the process easier for students and their families.

Create a routine at home

At Boarding School, students live and study on campus. By establishing a routine at home that mimics that of a boarding house, students will get used to the structure and independence required to take care of themselves. If a routine is established in advance the move away from home won’t feel as daunting.

It could be beneficial to mimic a general routine from an existing boarding house like this one that involves preparing for the day, homework and curfews.

Build independence early

Students will become increasingly independent the more time they spend in a Boarding School environment, however, it will be beneficial if they already have some basic skills. This may include learning how to make phone calls, money handling and being responsible for all of their belongings at home. Teaching your child how to cook, clean and do their own laundry can also be favourable but remember they will have plenty of assistance and support to learn these skills in the boarding house.

Boarding Grants

With the recent announcement of the Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program, families of Boarding School students from regional, rural & remote communities will be supported with the cost of education. A two-tier approach to scholarship support will also provide longer & additional support to families who need it most.

Under this new program, scholarships of $20,000 per student, per year will be available to support low-income families to meet the cost of boarding school. A second-tier of scholarships worth $10,000 per student, per year, will also be available to students from low-to-middle income families experiencing financial hardship.

For more information on these grants, please see here.

Boarding at Toorak College

At Toorak College we offer female Boarding School opportunities to students on our campus on the Mornington Peninsula. Our Boarding House, Joan Ansett Hall, is home to Australian and international students in Years 7-12 and is a place where students can enjoy the wonders of the Mornington Peninsula, develop lifelong friendships and achieve academic and personal success. Students can board full time, weekly or on a short stay basis in our comprehensive, ‘residential’ boarding program.

If you would like to learn more about the boarding experience at Toorak College please visit our website to find out whether boarding school is the right fit for your child.

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