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I know, "good or bad" is a little stark, but I couldn't fit a more subtle title in the space provided.<br><br>
In short, I'm torn between two fabulous schools for my 5yo daughter for next year. They're both amazing academically, and I think she'd do well at either one. But... one's an all-girls school.<br><br>
From people who have been there, done that: what are the pros and cons? I was initially against it, but as I'm learning more I'm starting to come around...<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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i can't give a clear feedback, because it comes so deeply from my experience.<br><br>
first, though, there is evidence that shows that girls maintain academic excellence via single-gender schools (particularly during and after puberty) as compared to their mixed-schooled friends.<br><br>
second, i believe that boys are inherently valuable and worth socializing with.<br><br>
but here is my experience.<br><br>
from age 5 to 13, i was schooled with boys. it was a mixed bag. on the one hand, i had many male friends and counterparts. i enjoyed their company (and preferred sports anyway).<br><br>
but, there were occasional issues. for example, when i was 7/8, i was in a mixed grade classroom. i was the head of the class academically, and this is how this school dealt with mainstreaming their gifted and special needs kids (mixed grades). i was also good at sports (fast, good hand-eye coordination, etc). and, i am competitive. i like to win. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
there was a boy in my class who was very aggressive towards me when i got the highest grade (he often got the second highest); when i won a race; when i won any kind of prize. he would do anything from call me names to becoming physical.<br><br>
the teacher tried to handle it, and ultimately called my mother and his mother in. his mother suggested to my mother that i *purposely loose a race, miss questions on an exam, or not compete for a prize* so that her son could 'feel good about himself" and then his drama would stop. the teacher agreed that this could work.<br><br>
My mother told them to F themselves. she believed that it was wrong for me to give up my excellence so that *he* would feel good about himself. my mother suggested teaching her son sportsmanship and healthy competition.<br><br>
second incident begins the incidents that really color my experience. our school--the mixed grades one--was a k-6th grade. i was sexually assaulted on the playground by some 11 yr old boys. at the end of the year, we moved to another state; but this was never dealt with by the school or parents--even though my mother raised hell. essentially, we were told "boys are experimental at this age." and my father asserted that it is not healthy to allow them to 'experiment' on 8 yr old girls!<br><br>
we moved to a different state, and between 9 and 13, there were two things happening. 1. girls were heavily policed to dumb down so that boys would like them (by teachers, mothers, etc); and 2. boys spent a lot of time talking to girls about their "pussies" and what they wanted to do with them, and also snapping bras and stuff. and no one was willing to put a stop to the "boys will be boys" behaviors. It was sexual harassment, and made me *very* uncomfortable.<br><br>
with this, not only was I a late bloomer (no period until nearly 14 yrs old), i also was very private and protective due to these experiences. you could say i was "frigid" though i don't think that's accurate or appropriate. *i was terrified of boys.* i believed that they would take what they wanted, and as we got older, they got bigger and stronger and more aggressive (in my experience), and if you didn't give them what they wanted, they would take it. AND, they would get away with it. I was told at 13, after a particularly extreme experience where a larger boy cornered me and tried to touch me IN FRONT OF A TEACHER and was using very extreme sexual language, that if i didn't "entice" boys, they would leave me alone. I dressed modestly, was quiet and kept to myself. i had no clue what i had done to "entice" his behavior.<br><br>
So, what i'm saying is, i was terrified that boys would just take from me and my body what they wanted, and that NO ONE would protect me or take him to task for those behaviors.<br><br>
Thus, when i had the opportunity at 14 to go to an all girl's school, i was THRILLED. sure, i still had whatever social issues, but the issues of academic competition were gone, and any sexual harassment situations with boys were also gone. it was *great*.<br><br>
so, i am completely colored by this experience. take it for whatever it is worth.
 

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It totally depends on the girl and on the school, but I personally would not ever send my daughter to an all girls school. I think that girls are raised to be a lot more competitive than boys are these days, and I think an atmosphere of that sort of competition isn't a healthy place to spend adolescence. I think that girls have a tendency to be very critical of eachother. I see it all the time in grown women, both in real life and on message boards: whenever you hear a woman being criticized for her clothing or her appearance or her mothering skills, it's almost always being done by another woman. I think that the type of bullying and social stratification that some girls engage in is really detrimental and oftentimes downright evil. I find it interesting that the two friends I have who had/have eating disorders so severe that they ended up hospitalized went to all girls high schools.<br><br>
This isn't to say that boys are all sweetness and light, or that they make social and academic situations simply wonderful. But I know that the social aspects of an all girls school would have eaten me alive. I think that boys and girls as general groups have very different ways of interacting with the world and with eachother, and I think that for many girls and many boys it kind of evens things out to have both influences.<br><br>
That's just my personal opinion. Obviously, many girls thrive at single sex schools.
 

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My mother worked in an all girl school. Some of her students had such a strong preference to be there that they worked after school jobs to pay their tuition.
 

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My daughter is in first grade and has been attending an all-girls school. I did not plan to send her to a single-sex school; I was not pro-single-sex. This all happened accidentally. But it has been incredible.<br><br>
First, the school has been wonderful for her. It's a nurturing and compassionate environment. I would have, I don't know, expected a girls school to be all about turning out prissy little ladies, and especially when I learned that dance was part of the curriculum I kind of rolled my eyes. I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm continually surprised as things I would have discounted turn out to be things my daughter either loves or gains tremendously from ... or both!<br><br>
At this age, I'm really not bothered about the single-sex aspect. She does extra-curriculars and plays with boys there. It's not like boys are some freaky alien species she only sees behind glass. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I went to an all girls high school and loved it. I would love to send my daughter to one. It was an excellent experience.
 

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My understanding is that the research very much supports single-sex education for girls. So on average, for more girls than not, it seems like a very good idea. But I think you have to look at your own child, because all girls are different. I do think, though, that more than anything it depends on the individual SCHOOL itself- if it's a good, nurturing, caring, friendly, encouraging environment, then it's a good school. If it's not, then it's not. Regardless of whether boys attend.
 

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I am pro all-girls schools. I was educated at single sex institutions, essentially through grad school, with a few years in the elem and hs where I was in a "regular" setting. I think that for the right child, and young woman, they can be very, very powerful and positive influences. My own kids are in public schools, so obviously mixed gender. I do send my dd to all girls summer camp.<br><br>
I am not anti-mixed gender schools either, but I would not mind exploring single sex schools for both of my children (ds and dd) at a later point.
 

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I went to an all-girls high school, in fact, a very large one (there were 500 girls in my graduating class).<br><br>
For me, at that time of life, it was a way to get away from all the bullshit that you saw girls engage in when in environments with boys. A lot of the competitive behavior associated with boys didn't generally happen there. It did morph into more competitive academic and sports behavior though--but I personally find that more productive.
 

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I went to an all girls school 9-12, but I wish I had started at that school in 7th, the youngest grade there at the time.<br><br>
I'm a professor of geophysics. A disproportionate number of the women in my field went to an all girls school for all or most of their pre-college education, and you can still pick these women out of a crowd for women who are in their 60s. I'm friends with most of my graduating class on facebook, and we range from doctors and professors to artists and musicians, everyone quite content to have found their true calling.<br><br>
One of the best things about my school is that they did not allow any of the "mean girl" or bullying issues to gain a foothold. It led to a very supportive environment where I really felt free to be my brainy, awkward, athletic self. We fielded competitive water polo teams in the 80s -- a time when the only competition was college teams. We also had a full compliment of AP math and science, and we were expected to take them (and most of us earned as many '5's in the STEM APs as we did in English and History.)<br><br>
The comparable all girls school where I live now does not seem to view the interpersonal issues as important to monitor as closely. For that reason, my daughter will not likely attend.
 

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I don't know about elementary school, but I went to all girls school for high school. The research really does support it and it was a fabulous choice for me.<br><br>
I have boys, but if I had a daughter I would definitely consider all girls school (and fwiw, I am considering all boys school for my boys, but it doesn't start until grade 7 here).
 

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I completely believe the pros outweigh the cons. Research and statistically, there is TONS of evidednce that it's good. TONS. I chose to attend a women's college after a standard public school k-12 education. It was awesome. It was extremely liberating and empowering to be able to focus on studying, on our work. Not caring what we looked like or wore in class, or not worrying about looking "smart" (gasp!) in class, not feeling marginalized because the teachers spent most of their time dealing with raucous boys and their shenanigans, etc.
 

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Wow, everyone! I'm surprised that the responses are overwhelmingly in support. I ran the idea by my daughter in a fun sort of way (she's only five, after all), and she thought it sounded fabulous. We haven't taken a tour of the school yet, but I'm looking forward to it more and more! Thanks for all the advice.<br><br>
@zoebird - What an awful situation. I'm so glad you were able to get out... to be honest, your concerns weren't on my mind when I asked this question, but it seems obvious to me now that harassment and abuse are always a possibility. Such a shame.
 

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Another <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> for girls' schools. I don't know about elementary, but I *loved* my all-girls HS and would love for my daughters to also attend an all-girls HS. Of course every school must be evaluated on its own merits -- any school can have problems -- but my experience was positive.
 

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I loved my all girls HS. It was wonderful. Everyone came with no make-up and wrinkly clothes. There was no pressure to be "feminine" around boys, so everyone pursued interests that they were really into. The learning environment was wonderful. I would choose that experience again and again.
 

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My kids have all gone to mixed gender schools up until 7th grade. From there, my son went to an all boys' school and my girls will go to an all girls' school. I ditto what everyone said as far as the positives. I know you didn't ask, but there are just as many positives for boys at all boys' schools. He has all male teachers, gets to be a boy, move around and not do tons of group work. When I taught at an all girls' school, I was truly able to see the benefits of single gender education.<br><br>
I teach at a mixed gender public high school and miss the drama free conversations as far as relationships. I hate the way girls come in upset after lunch b/c the boy of the day didn't smile at her, or sit with her. Sigh.
 

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I haven't personally read any research supporting all-girls elementary school, but awhile ago I did read about all-girl high schools and the positive results found there (compared to girls in mixed gender high schools). I'd be interested to read any elementary-related, if other posters who may have mentioned it, know where to find articles.<br><br>
I went to an all-girl high school and LOVED it. It was awesome. As for elementary I went to small mixed gender, which wasn't a problem. I really loved high school though.<br><br>
Maybe you will be lucky OP and either choice will work out great <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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i would have loved to go to an all girls school in highschool. i went to a large school (british system, grades 4 thru A levels) and boys and girls were together until grade 6 and then split into seperate buildings. i was there until grade 8 and then we moved to canada.<br><br>
the boy drama started in grade 6 though... it would have been good for my self-esteem, focus on academics and overall comfort to have been in an all-girls classroom by grade 5. but grade 7 and 8 were great... MUCH better than the short period of time i spent in a mixed grade 8 classroom in canada.<br><br>
there was of course <i>some</i> drama even in our all-girls classrooms, i think that can't be avoided, but i would definitely consider a single gender school for my kids when they reach school age.<br><br>
anyway, it's probably not quite as important for your daughter to be in an all-girls setting at age 5... the greatest benefits definitely start at around grade 5-7.
 

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I think it all depends on the student. Are there other venues for interaction between sexes etc? I did not go to an all girl school but I know people who did. Infact where I am from the all girls school tended to be one of the top schools and the kids coming out were every well rounded.<br><br><br>
That said where I am from is a small place so outside the classroom there was always lots of opportunity to interact with members of the opposite sex through families (large extended families) and also through social organizations.
 

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Another pro here. I went to an all-girls college for my MA and taught there and was very impressed with how articulate and confident the girls were, particularly in math/science (not my field). Obviously that was self-selected, but it was impressive.<br><br>
Heather
 
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