The five-day boarding option is one of junior boarding schools' best-kept secrets. It balances the routine and structure of boarding life during the week with the opportunity to connect with family and friends at home on the weekends. Five-day boarding
can also be a great way to ease the transition for students planning to board in secondary school, as it allows them to develop essential self-management skills that will make them successful in high school and beyond. When her daughter Kristin expressed an interest in switching from day to boarding, Fay parent Heidi Borella was surprised. However, reflecting on the experience, Heidi has seen some expected and surprising benefits.
More Time for Your Student
Accommodating the schedules of everyone in a busy household can make school nights a hectic mixture of school and work commutes, evening activities, and hurried meals. Five-day boarding gives students a dependable evening routine built around their needs. At Fay, for example, afternoon sports are followed by downtime in the dorm, family-style dinner in the Dining Room, evening study hall for homework and extra help, and then a bit more free time before the technology is turned in and students go to bed. "At school, my daughter has her own routine," says Heidi, "and the focus is on her and her needs."
When your family doesn't live close to school, opportunities to make plans with friends on the weekends are more challenging. Five-day boarding offers students additional time to build close relationships with other students in the boarding community and strikes a healthy balance between academic and social time. It is also a chance for students to build a web of support among the faculty outside the classroom. "Faculty members get to know the whole child as a boarder, and students see their teachers in a different light as well," notes Heidi. In the residential life program, students expand the circle of adults in their life that they can go to for guidance and mentorship.
Educating the Whole Child
Five-day junior boarding allows students to take responsibility for their learning and build habits and routines that will set them up for future success. "There's an element of independence but with safety rails," says Heidi, who notes that middle school is the time for students to take ownership of their learning and put good habits in place before they get to high school and college. "Five-day boarding appealed to us because the program is not just about academics; it's about growing the whole child."
Peers with an Impact
One of the unexpected benefits of junior boarding has been the positive impact the Borellas have seen from Kristin's peer group. In the boarding community, students have the chance to see what other students' study skills and routines look like as well. Heidi compares it to sports teams that "play up" when facing a strong opposing team. "Seeing other kids working hard has been a nice addition to our daughter's learning about life in general!"