Nova Scotia

Lower Sackville private school to teach life skills

A new private school set to open in Lower Sackville in September hopes to add 'life skills' to children's education, with plans to teach them things such as gardening and cooking.

'Kind of surprisingly, it’s relatively easy to open a private school'

It may be housed in a church, but Via Vita Academy has 10 classrooms, a gym, and a recreation area outside. (Facebook)

Two teachers opening their own private school in Lower Sackville, N.S., are hoping to provide something extra along with portions of the standard public school curriculum — including how to grow a garden, cook and sew.

"We're going to have life skills education," school co-founder Meghan Drew told CBC Radio's Information Morning.  

"We're going to teach all these life skills that are essential to live, that they're not necessarily getting in a traditional school system."

The school, Via Vita Academy, started enrolment in January and the plan is to open in September. So far, 10 students have enrolled.   

Meghan Drew and Adele MacLean are co-founders of Via Vita Academy, a new private school that's opening in Lower Sackville in September. So far they have 10 students enrolled. (Facebook)

The school is taking children age four all the way up to grade nine. They will be taught in multi-grade classrooms, where children from different grades are taught in the same room. 

Three teachers will work at the school which will be run out of the Faith Baptist Church on Stokil Drive in Lower Sackville. 

The school will have 10 classrooms, a gym and a recreation area outside. 

Enrolment at the school will cost $7,000 a child. 

"When you break it down per day for our school year, it's $35 a day. Myself that's what I pay for my daughter's daycare," said Adele MacLean the school's other co-founder.

"So anyone who's survived the years of paying daycare, we've tried to relate it to people it's the same continual cost." 

'There should be more standards' 

Drew and MacLean both have their Bachelor of Education degrees and have taught for years. 

When they decided to open their own school, they were startled by how few regulations there are. 

"Kind of surprisingly, it's relatively easy to open a private school," said Drew. 

"You submit a form, that's a pretty basic form, and they just file it and say OK you're approved."

Via Vita Academy has already started setting up some of its classrooms. (Facebook)

Drew said in the private school world, you don't have to have an education degree to be a teacher.

"We've got the education, the training, the experience, and all that to try and back us up and prepare us to do this," said MacLean. "There should be more standards."      

Parents want tailor-made education

In the past five years, MacLean says she's noticed that some parents are looking for a different kind of education for their children.

"Parents looking for something that's more tailored to what their child's needs are, their learning styles and what lies after high school. What happens to them and how they're going to be prepared to be an independent individual," said MacLean.

She said the way schools are set up now it's hard for parents to feel like their child is getting the attention they need. 

"They've noticed that in class sizes that are too large or there's too many mandates going on their child seems to get lost."  

MacLean said after repeatedly hearing that, she felt it was time to do education differently and start Via Vita Academy.

With files from Information Morning


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