How a Strong Elementary School Education Makes All the Difference in Your Child’s College Career
Given the myriad concerns that come with raising young kids, college is probably just a blip—albeit a very expensive blip—on your radar screen. But elementary school may have a bigger impact on your child’s future education than you realize.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University released a study that found knowledge of long division and fractions in fourth and fifth grade predicted their success in high school algebra and beyond. The repetition of basic lessons with students helps cement their knowledge and builds a foundation on which they can better understand advanced mathematics.
Likewise, elementary schools that emphasize essays and written assignments instill strong writing skills in their students. Graduates of Episcopal Academy, a pre-K-12, co-ed day school in Newtown Square, say learning those basic lessons early on gave them an advantage in college.
“I was able to easily write an essay,” says Patrick Espe, a Vanderbilt University student and Episcopal alum. “[Episcopal] just sort of put that in my back pocket for so long that I took it for granted until I got to school.”
James Costalas, now a student at Penn State University, concurs: “When we would do peer edits, you could definitely see that my writing was more organized, more developed and more argumentative than some of my other peers.”
Yale University student Katherine Hong says, “I think my ‘ah-ha’ moment would be the first big research paper I had to do because a lot of kids had to go to different resources just to learn how to cite things or how to do a lot of research. I had been doing that since middle school.”
A study by the University of Missouri-Columbia also found that interactive student-teacher relationships play an important role in student achievement, leading to higher test scores and increased academic motivation. Hong notes that the student-teacher relationship at Episcopal Academy helped her better communicate with professors at the university level.
“I felt pretty confident interacting with professors because I had such good relationships with my teachers in school,” Hong says. “I definitely learned how to do that in sixth grade when they had us sign up for office hours. I still have lunch with my advisor whenever I’m home. She’s one of my great friends. ”
Franklin & Marshall College student Jack Keffer agrees. “It’s so easy for me to just walk into a teacher’s office hours and chat with them because I already had that interaction at Episcopal.”
For more information, visit www.episcopalacademy.org.This is a paid partnership between Episcopal Academy and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio