Co-ed and Single Sex

Co-ed through the fifth grade

At Ursuline Academy, we believe we have created the ideal classroom environment for how children of every age learn best. In the 120 years we have been educating children, we recognize that co-education is important to the learning and development of younger children, and a single-gender education is important from age 10 through high school.

Years of first-hand experience, coupled with a recent examination of a wide range of research, have proven our philosophy is sound. Boys and girls at the earliest stages of development benefit by learning together, not apart. In pre-school and the primary grades, children are learning the basics of getting along with each other and developing and exerting their individual personalities. At this crucial time in their development, they are also laying the foundation for their views regarding gender differences. Exposure to the differences in learning styles and approaches that boys and girls exhibit better prepares them to handle social and academic situations where both sexes must work together throughout life.

Boys tend to have more development in certain areas of the right hemisphere of the brain, providing them with better spatial abilities, while girls’ development in the left hemisphere can give them better verbal abilities. Because of these kinds of differences, boys and girls will choose activities based on their natural tendencies. At a time when brain development is crucial, both boys and girls may benefit from choosing “against-the-grain gender experiences,” as one researcher calls it, to help create a well-balanced brain and one that is better equipped to handle the range of tasks and challenges a person will face throughout life. Co-educational experiences like those offered at Ursuline, from our Pre-K and Montessori programs through 5th grade, will allow them to do so.

All girls from sixth through twelfth grades

Ursuline Academy believes that the intermediate level is the developmentally appropriate place to begin single-sex education. By about age 10, hormonal differences and social awareness begin to occur in children in new and different ways. The differences that are so valued in the earlier years begin to inhibit their success. Boys tend to display a greater competitiveness. Girls tend to hold back from expressing themselves due to self-consciousness.

Ursuline strives to provide an environment in the Middle and Upper Schools that empowers young women, encourages their intellectual curiosity, and fosters active participation in the learning process. The individual talents and accomplishments of each young woman are celebrated, and the nurturing atmosphere of an all-girl setting enhances each student’s personal connection to her education, mentors, and peers, as well as to her greater community.

At Ursuline, girls find not only equal opportunity, but every opportunity. Our young women experience the freedom to speak out, ask questions, debate issues, and defend points of view. Our girls fill every role from grade 6 through 12; they are speakers, thinkers, writers, singers, artists, scientists, athletes, and actors. Ursuline women are leaders for today and tomorrow.