Different Types of Elementary Schools to Consider for Your Child

Over the last several decades, there has been a big increase in the different types of elementary schools available for parents and children to consider. Weighing the options can be a difficult, yet necessary step in ensuring that you, as a parent, are making the best possible educational choice for your children. We’ve made your research a little bit easier and by providing you with a list of several types of elementary schools that may be a good fit for your child.


Private types of elementary schools do not receive funding from the government, so they rely on tuition payments from families and funds from nongovernmental sources (such as religious organizations, endowments, grants, corporations, or donations). Here are a couple of private school options:

Independent Schools:

Independent schools are private elementary schools that have a board of governors or trustees to oversee them. These schools tend to have stricter policies for governance. They also have a propensity for larger donations than other types of private schools, which then go to state-of-the-art academic and sports facilities.

Parochial Schools:

For those parents seeking a religious educational option for their children, these types of elementary schools would be a good fit. Parochial schools are affiliated with a religious organization, and have a curriculum that includes general religious studies. Children do not have to be of a certain religion (like Catholic or Protestant) to attend Parochial school. However, they are required to study religion and attend prayer services. The cost of Parochial elementary schools varies by type and geography, but the average cost per elementary school student is about $6,500 per year.


Public schools are types of elementary schools that get their funding from the government. Here are the most common types of public schools out there.

District-Zoned Schools:

Generally, district-zoned elementary schools are parents’ first options. Pubic district-zoned schools are completely free, funded by federal, state and local tax dollars. Each public school district has neighborhood boundaries so that schools are able to balance enrollment. Children will attend whichever school their neighborhood is assigned to.

Charter Schools:

Charter elementary schools are relatively new, as they first began appearing in the early 1990s. Charter Schools are independently operated public schools that receive federal funding, as well as private funding. These types of elementary schools are required to follow the basic state curriculum, however, have the autonomy to make their own decisions about their learning practices. Charter schools can choose to either follow a traditional core-subject approach or specialize in specific subject areas, such as technology, science, or the arts.

Magnet Schools:

If you are interested in an alternative type of elementary school, one that promotes diversity and hands-on learning experiences, then a magnet school may be the best option for your child. Magnet schools are public schools that welcome students from all different districts and economic backgrounds, but also uphold high academic standards. Many magnet elementary schools offer a theme-based curriculum and new early childhood learning methods, such as Reggio Emilia or Montessori, which are especially beneficial for young children with different learning styles.

Riverside Magnet School, for example, enacts the Reggio Emilia approach. This is a child-centered method, where students are empowered to direct their own learning experiences in the classroom. In a Reggio-inspired magnet school, children have the opportunity to interact with their environments, explore their curiosities, and discover what exactly inspires them to learn. Magnet elementary schools like Riverside typically have low teacher-to-student ratios, as well, so that students can receive deeper, more personalized instruction.

Choosing the right school for your child is an extremely important and personal choice for you and your family. Whether private or public, magnet or charter, there are many types of elementary schools out there that could be the right fit for your child. To learn more about the differences between a magnet school and the other types of elementary schools out there today, you may check out our blogs:

Or, if you would like to find out more information about Riverside Magnet School in East Hartford, Connecticut, you can always contact us! Please visit www.goodwin.edu/magnet-schools/riverside-magnet-school/ or sign up for parent information session today!