Finding the Right School
Finding a school that’s the right fit involves having access to the right information. To help readers begin the selection process, we’ve compiled a list of the best independent schools in the area.
Apple Blossom School
and Family Center
Enrollment: Nursery – K,
Apple Blossom offers formal parent/child programs based on the Waldorf method of education. Children learn to build their emotional strength. A new extended care program has been added, allowing parents to drop children off at 8 am to be picked up by 4 pm.
Avon Old Farms
Enrollment: 408, 9 – post-grad, all boys, 860-404-4100,
A boy’s boarding school that uses programs designed to help young men focus on healthy development during a time when distractions abound. Avon’s core values of honesty, integrity, and community permeate life at this bucolic campus. The distinctive Cotswold architecture accentuates a traditional approach to education.
Enrollment: 219, K – 9, 413-774-7061, bement.org
From classrooms to dorms, Bement aims to learn as a whole while encouraging individual accountability. Bement strives for an academically diverse and multicultural student body that works together to create an intellectually rigorous climate of acceptance and kindness.
Berkshire Country Day
Enrollment: 210, Pre-K – 9, 413-637-0755,
Dedicated to encouraging academic excellence and helping each student realize his or her full potential.
Enrollment: 399, 9 – 12,
Established in 1907, Berkshire School prepares 9th-12th graders for a global future. Pioneering programs—advanced math/science, advanced humanities, and sustainability and resource management—coexist with AP offerings in all disciplines. Students embrace the school motto: “Learning—not just for school, but for life.”
Enrollment: 929, Pre-K – 12, all boys, 203-625-5800, brunswickschool.org
A tradition since 1902, Brunswick’s teachers are specifically trained to focus on boys’ needs, challenge them, and build self-confidence. “Top-notch college placement, excellent academics, and strong values attracted us,” says one mother. The school also features outstanding facilities.
The Canaan Ridge School
Enrollment: 86, Pre-K – 4, 203-322-7191, canaanridgeschool.org
Multi-age classrooms on this 10-acre campus offer many opportunities for children to learn at their own pace. Extracurricular activities include chess, yoga, French, Mandarin, and drama, as well as a science program popular with both parents and students.
New Milford, CT
Enrollment: 350, 9 – Post-grad,
Canterbury’s goal is to produce well-rounded, highly successful individuals. Known for a strong fine-arts program and exciting intramural sports, the campus is situated in an area of natural beauty. Today, the student body is a diverse mix of Catholics and non-Catholics from 13 countries and 15 states.
Chase Collegiate School
Enrollment: 402, Pre-K – 12, 203-236-9500, chasecollegiate.org
Chase believes that strong students deserve a worthy challenge, so it keeps class sizes low—between 11-13 kids. Comprised of a motivated, ambitious, and passionate student body, the Upper School (grades 9-12) offers 14 AP classes for those who wish to deepen their education, and the Lower School has exciting features, such as a Gardening Program, to encourage continuously growing learners.
Enrollment: 351, 8-postgraduate, 203-272-5396, cheshireacademy.org
This co-educational, college preparatory school boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio of 7:1 and average class size of 12. Cheshire strives to inform its students of international issues, thus creating global citizens. In addition to a curriculum based on English, math, science, history, and foreign language, the academy also offers an international baccalaureate program for students wishing to push themselves further.
Choate Rosemary Hall
Enrollment: 865, 9 – Post-grad, 203-697-2000, choate.edu
Spread over 400 acres and offering 240 courses, Choate Rosemary Hall provides programs to satisfy every student and parent. Offers programs in China, France, Spain, Japan, and Jordan.
Christian Heritage School
Enrollment: 457, K - 12, 203-261-6230,
It combines Christian values with a rigorous curriculum and strong athletic program. Through a challenging environment, students learn to face tough problems and take responsibility. Seventy percent of students participate in athletics.
Connecticut Friends School
Enrollment: 75, Pre-K – 8, 203-762-9860,
With 75 students in only 6 multi-age classrooms. The school establishes a formidable environment that challenges and enables students.
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Enrollment: 740, Pre-K – 12, all girls,
Teaches academic excellence, spiritual foundation, and modern facilities.
New Lebanon, NY
Enrollment: 107, 9 - 12, 877-432-7769,
Features an expansive curriculum that focuses on core courses in the arts, science, history, math, English, and foreign languages. Class sizes on average have nine students and an enviable 4:1 student-teacher ratio. The school is also a leading proponent of sustainability, as it is incorporated into the curriculum and the community’s way of life.
Enrollment: 101, K – 8, 203-254-2044,
A school created for intelligent students who experience difficulties due to learning disabilities, Eagle Hill helps children build a foundation to enhance their self-esteem and build social skills. Each student has six daily academic classes, which aim to develop all skill sets such as those used for reading: decoding, comprehension, vocabulary, and oral expression.
Enrollment: 145, K – 8, 203-389-5500,
Ezra Academy helps children become independent, lifelong learners and caring citizens committed to the Judaic Faith.
Fairfield College Preparatory School
Enrollment: 901, 9 – 12, all boys, 203-254-4200, fairfieldprep.org
Located on the 200-acre semi-rural Fairfield U campus, Fairfield Prep is a traditional Jesuit high school of excellence. Its mission is to offer the finest college prep, to inspire a love of learning, and to invite each student to deepen his relationship with God. As part of its new 1:1 program, all students will use iPads as educational tools that enhance their learning experiences.
Fairfield Country Day
Enrollment: 258, Pre-K – 9, all boys, 203-259-2723, fairfieldcountryday.org
Parents like the individual attention small class sizes allow in addition to extensive extracurricular and academic opportunities.
Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict-Magnet HS
Enrollment: 750, 203-275-3337,
Fairchild Wheeler follows a brand new, STEM project-based curriculum for students from Bridgeport, Trumbull, Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford, Easton/Redding, Monroe, and Milford. Students can choose either IT, biotechnology/zoology, physical science, math, or aerospace engineering. The school aims to develop future leaders passionate about solving problems.
Enrollment: 206, 9 – Post-grad, 860-567-8712,
A co-ed boarding and day school for students who face dyslexia, ADHD, and other difficulties, and is based on the Forman program, a rigorous college-prep curriculum. With the guidance of trained professionals and state-of-the-art assistive technology, students are taught to make thoughtful, value-based life decisions.
Enrollment: 170, Pre-K – 8, 203-426-3390, fraserwoods.com
Fraser-Woods knows, understands and accepts its students, aged 18 months to 14 years, and offers them a space to learn and grow. Students are given assignments with the freedom to self-guide as well as ample time for individual help.
a Devereux Center
Enrollment: 100, 5 – Post-grad, 860-868-7377,
A boarding school for students with special needs, the Glenholme School offers individually prescribed learning environments coupled with a steadfast academic curriculum.
Great Beginnings Montessori
Pre-K – 4, 203-254-8208, greatmontessori.com
Great Beginnings prides itself on its inviting and nurturing environment for all children.
Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School
Great Barrington, MA
Enrollment: 212, Pre-K – 8, 413-528-4015, gbrss.org
Since 1971, GBRSS has provided a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to learning for its students on a 32-acre campus. One of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide, the school offers a curriculum that integrates fine and practical arts with the sciences, mathematics, literature, and cultural heritage, to foster a lifelong love of learning, clear and precise thinking, a rich and healthy emotional life.
Great Barrington Waldorf High School
Great Barrington, MA
Enrollment: 35, 9 – 12, 413-298-3800,
In its 13th year, this co-ed college-prep school provides education for truth-seeking adolescents with imagination. A 2:1 ratio of students to faculty creates an atmosphere of academic excellence, artistic fulfillment, openness, and mutual respect with a mission to be affordable to all admitted students.
Greens Farms Academy
Enrollment: 695, PreK – 12, 203-256-0717,
A day school committed to helping students through a diligent course of study, Greens Farms embodies the motto “Each for All” by developing critical, creative, and independent thinkers with passion for knowledge. As students progress, teachers place more emphasis on independent learning. Classes are often gathered around the Harkness table, where students are able to engage one another in spirited conversation and debate.
Enrollment: 802, Pre-K - 12, 203-625-8900,
Founded in 1827, it is the sixth-oldest girls school in the country, and is umcompromisingly dedicated to building the character of girls and young women. One parent says, “We chose GA because we felt strongly about single-sex education as a tool for building self-esteem.”
Greenwich Country Day School
Enrollment: 893, Pre-K - 9, 203-863-5600, gcds.net
Founded in 1926, this coed day school defines itself as a “family” that fosters academic excellence. Creative teaching methods instill a lasting love of learning in students.
The Gunnery School
Enrollment: 295, 9 – post-grad,
With the development of character, strength, a lifelong love of learning, it produces students who are strong in every regard.
Enrollment: 835, K - 12, 914-366-2600,
Defined not only by outstanding academics, but also by friendship and the belief that character is higher than intellect.
Hamden Hall Country Day School
Enrollment: 565, Preschool - 12,
Since opening in 1912, Hamden Hall has served as a coed school for students that encourages active participation, provides a supportive environment, and a community that stresses the importance of social responsibility and community service. The school’s philosophy “a sound mind in a sound body for each student” is embodied through AP courses in every department.
The Harvey School
Enrollment: 342, 6 - 12, 914-232-3161,
Located on a wooded, 125-acre campus, the school educates highly motivated students of above average ability in a warm, supportive setting. An average class size of 11 students allows teachers to get to know individual learning styles, while also offering advanced courses. Harvey also offers performing arts, sports, and community service to name a few.
Enrollment: 730, 9 - 12, 203-757-9248,
Holy Cross provides a total Christian education for young men and women. It prepares students for college placement and a successful professional life while stimulating intellectual growth. Qualified juniors and seniors are given the opportunity to complete college courses through the university’s online program.
New Haven, CT
Enrollment: 710, 7 - 12, 203-397-1001,
The headmaster of Hopkins School, which is located on a 108-acre campus, says students are challenged to try on the “habits of mind that historians, writers, linguists, scientists, artists, and athletes bring to their disciplines.”
The Hotchkiss School
Enrollment: 600, 9 - Post-grad, 860-435-2591,
An independent boarding school founded in 1891, Hotchkiss’ diverse student body migrates from all over the US and 28 different countries.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School
Enrollment: 150, PreK-8, 203-364-1113,
Based on the ideas of educator and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, a Waldorf education fosters the ability to think with clarity, to feel with compassion, and to initiate change with confidence.
Enrollment: 160, 9 – 12, 860-963-9096,
An independent, college preparatory boarding school, Hyde is devoted to preparing its students with the necessary tools to succeed and excel after graduation. With an average ratio of 6:1 and class size of 12, students can build strong relationships with their teachers with whom they can always go to seek guidance. The curriculum aims to build character by requiring all students to participate in athletics, performing arts, community service, and campus jobs.
Indian Mountain School
Enrollment: 277, PreK - 9, 860-435-0871,
The school promotes growth and academic excellence in a diverse learning environment. As students learn to be active participants in their education, teachers draw out opinions and engage children in the conversation of learning.
Enrollment: 565, 9 - 12, 860-927-6000,
With classes such as screenwriting, Mandarin, and biotechnology, the faculty is there to help as students take on these challenges. One program allows students to build their own course.
King Low Heywood Thomas
Enrollment: 683, Pre-K - 12,
The school believes individual accomplishment must link with respect for others and embrace human and cultural diversity.
Enrollment: 477, 9 - 12, 203-877-2786,
The school prepares girls to become competent, confident, and compassionate young women. It offers a stern curriculum that highlights critical thinking skills, problem solving
Litchfield Montessori School
Enrollment: 100, Pre-K - 8, 860-283-5920,
Committed to helping each student acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed for life-long learning.
The Long Ridge School
Enrollment: 120, Pre-K - 5,
Long Ridge believes children should be valued by their talents and that children achieve their highest potential in a challenging academic environment. The 14-acre campus is a natural laboratory for the study of biology, botany, and ecology and is home to the school’s sun-filled academic buildings, and the arts and athletics center. Students spend two years with the same teachers and are often grouped with students of other ages.
Enrollment: 650, 9 - 12, 860-687-6000,
The mission of Loomis Chaffee is to advance the development of spirit, mind, and body in boys and girls drawn from diverse cultures and to inspire in them a commitment to be their best.
Enrollment: 74, 6 - 12, 845-373-9511,
Founded in 1945 by parents seeking better education opportunities for their children, Maplebrook has grown into a prominent coeducational boarding and day school for students with learning differences and/or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Maplebrook is a school devoted to the growth and guidance of the character of each student.
Marianapolis Preparatory School
Enrollment: 391, 9 - Post-grad,
Dedicated to building character and compassion with a strong foundation of Catholic values. The student body represents 22 countries and each classroom has an 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio. On the nearly 150-acre campus, students stay in renovated dormitories, use a new theater and dance studio, and join many clubs ranging from the Chit Chat Club to Student Ambassadors.
The Marvelwood School
Enrollment: 160, 9 –post-grad,
Though Marvelwood does have a variety of honors and advanced placement courses, it is known for its unique support programs that reflect its dedication to the individual. On Wednesdays, all students and faculty participate in the community-service program.
The Masters School
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Enrollment: 650, 5 - 12, 914-479-6400,
Located just 30 minutes from New York City, Masters encourages academic achievement, artistic development, and athletic endeavor. Community service plays a large role here: from volunteering to fundraising and more.
Enrollment: 284, 9 - 12, 845-677-8261,
A small, co-ed college preparatory boarding school where nurturing and stimulating relationships between students and teachers have been the school’s hallmark since its founding in 1931. Millbrook is also home to Trevor Zoo, the only zoo to currently exist at a high school in the country.
Miss Hall’s School
Enrollment: 205, 9-12, 413-443-6401,
An all girl’s school boasting an 80-acre
campus in the middle of the Berkshires,
Miss Hall’s School believes in teaching students
to be the leaders of the next generation.
To graduate, each girl must participate in
Horizons, an off-campus community service
and internship program.
Miss Porter’s School
Enrollment: 306, 9 - 12, 860-409-3500,
A community of 306 girls, Miss Porter’s school has an average class size of 10 and a competitive student to teacher ratio of 7:1. The school’s mission is to provide an exemplary education to young women, with core characteristics of curiosity, global citizenship, integrity, and courage.
Wilton (lower), 203-834-0440, Norwalk, CT (upper), 203-840-1850, Enrollment: 250, Pre-K - 8,
The mission is to adhere to the philosophy of Maria Montessori and to maintain the standard of the Association Montessori Internationale. The school aims to create a joyful community that provides an atmosphere to support the growth of the child.
New Canaan Country School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 630, Pre-K - 9, 203-972-0771,
For 95 years, NCCS has combined a deep belief in tradition and the educational value of fundamental skills with an ongoing commitment to creative teaching and self-evaluation.
Notre Dame Catholic High School
Enrollment: 483, 9 - 12, 203-372-6521,
Offering unique graphic design classes and opportunities to earn college credit in high school, Notre Dame Catholic High School has students from over thirty different towns.
Our Lady of Fatima
Pre-K-8, 203-762-3928, olfcatholic.org
Based on the principles of Catholic values and teachings, Our Lady of Fatima is a private, co-ed school that seeks to build confident students willing to put the needs of others before their own. The rigorous curriculum provides students with a challenging and thought-provoking environment that better prepares them for high school. In addition to an excellent sports program, students in grades six to eight can also run for student council, which plans school activities and dances; join the children’s choir, or participate in a full-scale school musical for grades four to eight.
Enrollment: 286, Pre-K - 8, 203-894-1800,
Parents choose Ridgefield Academy, and its affiliated Landmark Academy pre-school, for three main reasons: a school culture immersed in strong values, a comprehensive academic program, and the close partnership that both students and parents share with teachers. A cutting-edge media center and a fabulous new food service—farm-to-table—can be found there as well.
Rippowam Cisqua School
Mount Kisco, NY (lower), 914-244-1200, and Bedford, NY (upper), 914-244-1250,
Enrollment: 513, Pre-K - 9, rcsny.org
On two campuses, but one mission: to promote critical thinking, individual development, and personal excellence. Parents are drawn to RCS because of the small class sizes, supportive learning environment, and dedicated teachers.
Rumsey Hall School
Washington Depot, CT
Enrollment: 324, K - 9, 860-868-0535,
An independent boarding and day school, it prepares students for the discipline required in secondary schools, through small co-ed classes and sound academics. Students also have the opportunity to participate in theater productions and sports.
Sacred Heart Academy
Enrollment: 507, 9-12 203-288-2309,
A private, Catholic high school that instills Christian values in its students while providing them with a well-rounded curriculum as well as a vast array of electives to choose from. The school also has a Summer Internship Program for juniors, allowing them to gain real-world experience in a career field of their choice. Other extracurricular activities include the math league, Students Against Destructive Decisions, or fall, winter, or spring sports.
Enrollment: 310, 9 - 12, 860-435-5700,
The school instills in boys a vibrant enthusiasm for learning and the self-confidence needed for intellectual, physical, moral, and spiritual development. No other school has a better balance between challenge, opportunity, and support in a traditional, college preparatory academic environment. Its 700-acre campus provides solid academic and athletic facilities.
South Kent School
South Kent, CT
Enrollment: 190, 9 - Post-grad,
Provides students with the intellectual, moral, physical, and social framework for scholastic achievement.
St. Aloysius Catholic School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 188, K - 8, 203-966-0786,
The Catholic faith is the foundation upon which the curriculum rests.
The Stanwich School
Enrollment: 350, Pre-K - 12,
Rigorous academics, competitive athletics, a signature arts program, character education and values based on the Judeo-Christian tradition are hallmarks of the Stanwich experience. Stanwich creates confident students with a passion for academic excellence and compassion for others. Wildwood Cottage, the school’s Pre-K and K program, is opening in a newly renovated facility for the 2014-2015 school year.
St. Joseph High School
Enrollment: 830, 9 - 12, 203-378-9378,
St. Joseph’s encourages students to realize their full potential and helps them excel in higher education. On the 25-acre campus, students have the chance to participate in 24 varsity-level athletic teams.
St. Luke’s School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 527, 5 - 12, 203-966-5612,
A secular, college-prep day school that attracts families from over 25 towns. Challenging academics and an innovative Center for Leadership distinguish St. Luke’s. A supportive, diverse community inspires students to exceed expectations.
St. Mary School
Enrollment: 266, Pre-K - 8, 203-438-7288,
A popular choice for Catholic parents who want their children to grow in their faith. Faith, academics, and a sense of community are the mission of Saint Mary. Besides building a strong faith, there is a focus on world languages, fine arts and music, science, technology and math.
St. Patrick’s Parochial School
Enrollment: 190, Pre-K - 8, 914-234-7914,
A strong Catholic school option located on the historic village green.
St. Stephen’s Nursery School
Enrollment: Nursery - Pre-K,
Teaching basic math, reading, and science concepts while helping develop social skills.
The Taft School
Enrollment: 576, 9 - Post-grad, 860-945-7777, taftschool.org
Builds the whole person through an education that is academic, personal, and ethical. The motto is “not to be served but to serve.”
Town & Country Montessori
Enrollment: 30, Pre-K - K, 203-834-1195,
Children are encouraged to develop their full potential by respecting themselves and others.
Enrollment: 305, 7 - 12, 845-855-3100,
It embraces and enforces its core values of integrity, tradition, and community.
The Unquowa School
Enrollment: 177, Pre-K - 8, 203-336-3801,
Has been offering a traditional liberal arts curriculum with a progressive approach to families of both boys and girls since 1917.
Washington Montessori School
New Preston, CT
Enrollment: 250, Pre-K - 8, 860-868-0551,
Dedicated to the intellectual development of students, with a special focus on self-reliance and developing each child’s unique capabilities. WMS provides a joyful learning community built upon the Montessori philosophy.
Westbrook Nature School
West Redding, CT
Enrollment: Pre-K - K, 203-664-1554,
Its curriculum is nature-based, taking kids out of the classroom so they can develop culturally, socially and emotionally.
Enrollment: 203, 9 - 12, 203-758-2423,
Provides an environment that inspires the intellectual, artist, athlete, and philosopher and challenges young women to think independently, to embrace diversity, and to grow intellectually.
Enrollment: 385, Pre-K - 8, 203-869-8464,
America’s largest Montessori school, accredited by the American Montessori Society and International Baccalaureate. Its diverse student body represents 40 countries.
The Woodhall School
Enrollment: 42, 9 - 12, 203-266-7788,
An individualized approach to show each
student his full potential.
Enrollment: 380, K - 12, 203-830-3900,
For more than 80 years, this coed day school on 127 acres has instilled a sense of community, self-help, and service. Its self-help program has students take responsibility for school upkeep. n