They may have been living the high life since birth, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from homework! Yup, the children of celebrities have to go to school just like everyone else. But these wealthy kiddos and their famous parents often opt for education outside of their local public school system. From Santa Monica’s Crossroads School to New York City’s Avenues: The World School, people like Suri Cruise and the Jolie-Pitt brood have educations that are far superior to what many of us grew up with. But what exactly goes on in these exclusive institutions?
These Celebs Prefer The French System
When it came to their childrens’ education, people like Madonna chose a French method. She enrolled her daughter, Lourdes Leon, at the Lycée Français de New York, where tuition will cost you almost as much as a college undergraduate degree – parents who enroll their kids at this private school pay about $38,050 per year!
Other famous alumni of Lycée Français include four of Angelina Jolie’s bunch; Maddox, Pax, Zahara, and Shiloh. The curriculum at this school is based on that used in France.
It’s Like Going To School In France
Lourdes Leon looks like she can’t wait to finally graduate in this photo from 2014. Students can graduate not only with an American high school diploma but can opt for the French general Baccalauréat or a special Franco-American version of one.
The French curriculum is thought to be so rigorous, that a student’s final year of high school in France is often equated to that of America’s post-secondary education. Students of Lycée de Français are taught in both French and English and their education is influenced by the American culture they’re growing up in, concurrent with European culture that the school injects into its curriculum.
This Private School’s Tuition Costs More Than A Decent College
Suri Cruise is probably the most famous student at Avenues, a for-profit school in New York City that attracts parents who are hedge-fund billionaires, fashion designers, tech geniuses, or have some other profession that somehow makes them impossibly rich. After all, impossibly rich is what you’d have to describe yourself if you’re going to pay the Avenues tuition, which is $56,400 a year!
“Suri is going to be learning Mandarin. She is in the program for the Lower School which focuses on Chinese,” Radar Online reported. Avenues reportedly integrates Mandarin or the more understandable Spanish into its curriculum as early as nursery school.
Can A School Be Entirely Paperless?
Avenues is regarded as a modern and futuristic school, compared to its traditional counterparts in New York City (it’s housed in a 10-story warehouse that was lavishly renovated to be a high-tech school).
Avenues aims to be a paperless school, which is why every single student is issued an iPad, on which all of Avenues’ texts are downloaded, although this isn’t really that revolutionary for schools by today’s standards. Still, co-founder Chris Whittle tells Telegraph, “We’re trying to turn Avenues into a paperless place. We see the iPad as being a pupil’s book bag, so 90% of our texts are on there.”
Avenues Cares A Lot About Health
Avenues is known to have organic, healthy food options for its students in its cafeteria. While many schools in America have taken on this initiative as well, we doubt that other schools serve dishes like “tofu with roasted red peppers.”
What if you put into your body is just as important as what you do to maintain it too and this school likes to make sure you know that. With comprehensive physical fitness programs throughout all thirteen years of schooling, Avenues students are “expected to develop a personal regimen of exercise by the time they graduate,” according to its website.
The Private School Fit For All Presidential Children
When former President Barack Obama moved into the White House in 2008, the media speculated over where he and wife Michelle would choose to send their daughters, Malia and Sasha, for school. They ended up choosing Sidwell Friends School. Sidwell Friends School is also the alma mater of Chelsea Clinton and other children of past presidents.
Tuition at Sidwell Friends School does not come cheap and is priced upwards of $42,000 – and that doesn’t even include the number of fees for books, bus transportation, and other necessary expenses!
Exposing Students To The World At A Young Age
As early as middle school, Sidwell Friends students are encouraged to participate in the Minimester programs, which often introduce students to ideas and experiences that reach far beyond the perimeter of their campus in the week before spring break.
Students in the past have taken trips to France to learn about D-Day and the Battle of Normandy during WWII. They’ve also visited the Amazon rainforest and the Great Wall of China. Sidwell Friends believes that “At its core, Minimester provides an opportunity for experiential learning that complements the learning taking place every day in the classroom.”
Where The Children Of Hollywood Go
There are incredibly exclusive schools like Lycée de Français (there is also one in Los Angeles), and then there are schools like Crossroads in Santa Monica. For decades, the public thought of Crossroads as the hippie school that features a list of alumni that are now Hollywood heavyweights, like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Jonah Hill, Michael Bay, and Gary Coleman.
Although Crossroads prides itself on diversity and inclusion, that inclusivity comes at a price: tuition costs between $30,000 to almost $40,000 a year! Don’t be mistaken either, you’d only have to pay that if your child can successfully get in.
Latin Is Required Study
When students at Crossroads reach 7th and 8th grades, they are required to take Latin. While the school does offer courses in more useful languages like French and Spanish, these are supplementary options to the defunct language that is usually only studied by more mature students.
Crossroads is also popular for its “councils,” meetings between students and teachers in which they all sit in a circle and students are encouraged to express themselves when it is their turn to speak. According to their website, “Special attention is given to the social, emotional, and spiritual development of each child at Crossroads.”
This Expensive School Doesn’t Even Have Desks
Actor Ben Stiller and New Line Cinema COO Toby Emmerich are some of the popular alumnae of New York City’s Calhoun School. The cost of going to this private school isn’t as outrageous as some of the other schools on this list, but it’s still going to put a huge hole in your wallet.
Depending on what level you’re enrolling your child in, tuition can cost you anywhere from almost $26,300 to $52,700. The Calhoun School also has a reputation throughout New York City as being quite progressive. The school doesn’t have desks, preferring to hold its lessons around tables to engage discussion.
Calhoun Students And Teachers Are On A First Name Basis
If you think that wasn’t progressive enough, get this: students even call their teachers by their first names! In an effort to provide more in-depth lessons and encourage students to really grasp the material, The Calhoun School even made its classes longer than usual – some classes go for as long as two hours and ten minutes.
The costly private school has taken on other progressive initiatives, such as a “holistic approach to healthy eating.” The Calhoun School is even home to New York City’s first eco-friendly green roof, which is not only sustainable but provides a new space for learning.
A School That One Of Our Friends Went To
Jennifer Aniston is an alumna of the prestigious Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. Founded in 1928, the Rudolf Steiner School utilizes a Waldorf education, a philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner.
Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogy is such that it provides “a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education that integrates the arts in all academic disciplines,” according to its site. Tuition at this private school is averaged at around $41,500 and if you can afford it, the experience is allegedly worth every penny. So what exactly does attending this school entail?
Knitting Sweaters Is Mandatory
As a part of the elementary curriculum, students from first to eighth grade are taught “handwork” courses, which their site notes “involves the senses of sight and touch as well as balance and movement. In doing handwork, fine motor skills are refined.” In second and third grade, students are taught to knit and crochet with their required projects culminating in a potholder and hat.
Subsequent years focus on needle and thread, in which students are expected to be able to create a pair of socks and a stuffed animal by the sixth grade. Their final year of handwork involves a sewing machine and making an apron entirely from scratch.
The Same Teacher For The First Eight Years
Another quirk of the Rudolf Steiner School is their decision to keep students with one teacher for grades one through eight. This private school holds the philosophy that “[Kids] up to the age of puberty have a basic need for genuine authority, rooted in the child’s love and respect for the teacher, and in the respect of the teacher for the child’s inherent self.” Whoever is designated as “the class teacher” follows a student’s progress and development closely for those elementary years.
While specialized teachers come in for certain lessons, the class teacher unifies those lessons with the entire curriculum and is able to discern a student’s points of improvement from working closely with them for so long.
Technology At Home Is Frowned Upon At Home
If you tend to let your children zone out in front of the TV or on their tablets when they’re home, then they probably wouldn’t be a good fit for the Rudolf Steiner School. “There is research that indicates that the impact of electronic media can have detrimental effects on a young child’s healthy growth and development,” the school notes.
As a result, they encourage families to reduce the use of electronic devices in their everyday lives, especially for younger children enrolled in preschool or kindergarten. Rudolf Steiner insists on introducing the technology as they progress through school instead.
What Is Kindergarten Like For A Prince?
Prince William escorted his first-born, Prince George, to his first day of kindergarten, Daily Mail reported in early September 2017. Prince George is enrolled at Thomas’s Preparatory School in Battersea in Southwest London, which apparently is known to locals as “competitive, oversubscribed and for cosmopolitan parents who want their children to have the best English education money can buy,” according to Good Schools Guide. But how much money does that entail?
You’ve Got To Have “Natural Intelligence” To Be Admitted
Tuition and Thomas’s Battersea starts at £6,158 (more than $8,000) per term. But even if you have enough money to enroll your child in this school, they still have to qualify for admission. Applicants to this school must take an entrance exam as early as two or three years of age.
The exam relies on “natural intelligence,” Daily Mail reports since most children can’t even read or write at such a young age. Passing the admissions test and forking up the cash is well worth it, though, since Thomas’s schools (there are four locations throughout London) are known to have quite a compelling curriculum.
Prince George Will Be Taking Ballet Lessons
Thomas’s curriculum includes ballet lessons which are “compulsory” for both girls and boys up until age seven, Daily Mail reported. The lessons are accompanied by a live pianist and all students are entered into the Royal Academy of Dance examination.
The school’s motto is to “Be Kind,” aiming to instill cherished “British values” and “equip pupils for life in modern Britain,” according to the school’s website. They have top-notch facilities for the young students including science laboratories, computer suites, a rooftop playground and garden, and even a school-owned ski chalet in Austria used for “outdoor education.”
No Special Treatment Or Best Friends For Prince George
Hopeful Thomas school parents are encouraged to register their children at birth, because of how competitive admission is, but something tells us Prince George had no issue making enrollment. But that doesn’t mean the four-year-old Prince will get any special treatment. Prince George will simply be known as George Cambridge to his peers, on the Duke and Duchess’s insistence.
Thomas also discourages “best friends,” as some parents have reported that they’ve been talked to about it. The school’s previous headmaster reportedly told Daily Telegraph in 2013, “It is much easier if they share friendships and have a wide range of good friends rather than obsessing too much about who their best friend is.”
Like A Look Into The Past
The media was quick to point out how much Prince George’s first day of kindergarten matched that of his father’s, nearly 30 years ago. Prince William’s first day of school also caused a stir back in 1987, when Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana accompanied a cherubic Prince William to his first day at Wetherby School in Notting Hill.
Much of the UK expected Prince George to attend the same school as his father and uncle. The all-boys prep school is just as exclusive as the Thomas school, if not more, as tuition these days is £7,415 (almost $10,000) per term.