What Are Parochial Schools: Meaning, Purpose, Consideration & Selection Tips

Parochial schools, also known as private schools, can be found in any country. While most are Catholic, private schools don’t need to be religiously based.

A private school linked to a particular religion is considered a parochial school. 

Some typical features of parochial schools are a faith-based curriculum and strong ties with the community, including religious organizations, churches, and businesses.

If you are considering sending your child to a parochial school, it might be best to know the process.

This article will give you a basic overview of a parochial school. It will also discuss some benefits of going to a parochial school.

What are parochial schools?

A parochial school is a private, religious-based school that follows a specific religion or belief.

While they are set up like public schools in some ways, they are typically run independently and may have different goals than government-run coed public schools. 

Parochial schools can be tied to specific churches, temples, and mosques and most often require you to be a member of that organization.

What is the purpose of a parochial school?

The primary function of a parochial school is to serve the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and cultural needs of students in a faith community.

Most parochial schools’ primary function is to provide a Christian environment for children’s education. 

The spiritual component of parochial schools is the basis for the development of character, morals, and values in children. Characteristics of a parochial school include:

  • Religious affiliation and purpose
  • Teachers who have an active ministry in the school
  • A curriculum that includes the basic skills for reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, and religion
  • The teaching of moral and ethical values
  • A curriculum that includes preparation for vocations
  • A strong sense of community, including a sense of mission and service

Parochial schools exist to glorify God and to transmit the values of the Christian religion. There are billions worldwide who are not Christians or have differing beliefs.

Hence, some parents send their children to parochial schools so they can be taught principles that share the same values as the family.

It is also said that in the United States, these schools were started to provide a way for people who, for economic reasons, could not afford to send their children to public schools to receive an education.

What are some of the reasons to consider parochial schools?

1. Parochial school ensures that all students receive religious knowledge

Schools that are affiliated with religious institutions are called parochial schools.

The focus and mission of the school are to ensure that every student maintains and grows in his or her faith.

Many parents want their children to receive an education and learn about religion. 

A parochial school is a school in which the subject, whether history or science, is taught using both your family’s religion and the adopted one. 

2. There is a lower student-teacher ratio, which means more individual attention

Many people prefer this type of school because of the discipline the schools offer students.

In addition, there is a low student-teacher ratio and smaller classrooms which means more individual attention from the teachers to students. 

This allows teachers to identify students’ weaknesses and strengths ad address their needs accordingly. Furthermore, there are lower tuition fees for some of these schools.

3. High level of parental involvement

Parochial schools typically have a high level of parental involvement. For example, parents may serve as volunteer teachers, chaperones for field trips, and in other capacities.

The parent organization will also likely fund various school expenses not covered by tuition or donations.

4. The school is safe and secure for boys and girls of all races and religions

Parochial schools throughout the United States provide an excellent education in a safe and secure environment.

The order, discipline, structure, and learning centers are perfect for students’ progress.

Besides, parochial schools are great for parents who want to give their children a confident Christian foundation.

5. Parochial schools offer a variety of extra activities

If you plan to send your child to a parochial school, you should know that it isn’t just your regular schooling.

Instead, it involves extra activities such as sports, art, music, and others that will form the basic foundation for a child when they grow up. 

Sports, arts and crafts, and other activities are available to all parochial school students at no cost. However, only parochial school students can participate in most of these activities.

For example, the local parochial schools in the area often provide soccer leagues for those who attend the schools located in their areas.

This allows students from different schools to play on the same team, build teamwork skills, and make friends with children from other schools. 

6. Assurance of quality education

When it comes to your child’s education, you want the best facilities and resources available. Some schools may promise this to parents but fail to deliver in reality.

You want quality education and a community that cares about your child. Parochial schools provide that assurance and more.

7. Parochial schools offer unique programs for the gifted and disabled

Whether it’s special education and gifted education, career awareness programs, or professional development, parochial schools offer many programs that are unique to them.

These programs are closely tailored to the needs of all students and allow them to develop their potential.

Furthermore, students in parochial schools can benefit from learning values and morals from priests and nuns who teach in the same school.  

How do you pick the right parochial school for your child?

If you are a parent looking for the right school for your child, there are many things to consider. Some of them include the following;

1. Look for a faith-based school

From elementary to high school, a parochial school is a faith-based institution that provides instruction and other religious and extracurricular activities.

Parochial schools are not only an educational choice but a faith-based one. Therefore, like other faith-based institutions, each school offers its distinctive religious viewpoint.

Parents should consider this factor when looking for the right parochial school for their children.

2. Take notice of the administration and faculty

To parents evaluating parochial schools for their children, You have to look closely at the school’s administration and the teachers.

Parochial schools have a good education but poor administration and faculty, which will put your child in danger.

3. Consider Catholic religious education programs

Finding the right parochial school for your child starts with understanding what they do and don’t offer, where to find them, and the best way to sift through the schools that fit your needs.

Catholic religious education programs provide a well-rounded learning experience that helps students grow in four key areas: Spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical. 

Catholic schools offer religiously-based education programs. They do not push a particular faith onto students and offer many different levels of religious studies to choose from.

Catholic schools are excellent alternatives to public and private schools, especially in religion.

4. Know the tuition fees

For many parents, sending their children to a parochial school is the right option. 

Parochial schools are typically more affordable than tuition for public schools, though some parochial schools do charge tuition fees. 

They can be subsidized or independent, which varies based on religion. Tuition fees at parochial schools are almost always cheaper than at private schools with no religious affiliation.

Some of these schools may also offer scholarships to qualified students to help them with their expenses.

5. Check its accreditation

Parochial schools are for those interested in enrolling their children in religious schools. Parents must read more about parochial schools before enrolling their children.

Picking a parochial school can be challenging because there are many things parents need to consider before choosing one that is right for their kids. 

You can check if a school is accredited or recognized by most state departments of public instruction online and by other organizations. You can visit this site to find recognized accrediting agencies.

Rethink your decision if the school is not accredited to ensure that you give your child the best learning environment possible.

6. Make sure academic standards match your needs

Every parochial school has its strengths and weaknesses. Some cater to arts programs, some to technology, and others focus on religion.

When it comes to parochial schools, parents naturally have a lot of questions. What matters the most is that your desired parochial school’s academic standards align with what you want for your child.

Are parochial schools right for your child? 

A lot of people do not know the meaning of parochial schools. However, a church or religious group owns and operates these educational institutions.

If you have religious motivation in education, such schools can be ideal for you and your children. These schools have existed for years and have only grown in number today. 

This is because parents are getting better education for their children and for them to be inspired by being able to serve God.

These schools provide adequate moral support to students, giving them moral stability when needed.


Are parochial schools and Catholic schools the same?

No, Catholic and parochial schools are not the same. While about 60% of parochial schools are catholic, a parochial school can be any private school that teaches under the authority of a religious organization. 

Why attend a parochial school?

Perhaps the most significant advantage of attending a parochial school is the element of religion that it brings to the classroom.

Are there drawbacks to a parochial school?

There are not many drawbacks to parochial schools; however, like every other type of school, there are advantages and disadvantages.

The drawback comes from a more limited curriculum, a smaller student body, and a selection of classes. Another serious drawback may be funding.

What kinds of people attend a parochial school?

Parochial schools are open to students of all faiths and ethnicities. They are popular choices of parents who feel that a public school curriculum doesn’t offer extracurricular activities in the areas of religion and morality.

Final Thoughts 

Parochial schools are private or independent schools run by various religious institutions. A parochial school allows children to have a religious curriculum regardless of their family background. 

A parochial school attracts students from not only the parish where they’re located but also other neighboring parishes.

The main objective of these schools is to provide their learners with the proper education they need to succeed in their lives and future career paths.

As religion is a part of a culture, teaching children cultural awareness and diversity is essential.

Therefore, I encourage educators to include multicultural education in their classroom curriculum. The article will teach you about its importance and implementation in classrooms.

Thanks for reading.