Pros and Cons of Single-Sex Learning and Schools
Research has shown that female brain development and structure radically differs from those of males. As such, proponents of single-sex education believe that, in general, all-girls schools provide many benefits that co-ed schools can't. In a same-sex setting, girls do not have to compete with boys for the teacher's attention, they are often less inhibited and feel freer to participate and be themselves. Girls in single-sex education settings are exposed to female role models and women in positions of authority, and their self-esteem is tied to their achievement in the classroom and not their looks or popularity.
On the downside, girls' schools may be cliquish, and there is evidence to suggest that girls' schools can actually reinforce gender stereotypes rather than eliminate them. However, it is important to remember that your daughter is not a generality; she is a singularity with unique needs and your search for the right academic environment should reflect this. A good school is a good school, and her school should provide an environment where she feels free to flourish intellectually and socially, regardless of whether it is co-ed or single-sex.
When choosing a school, whether co-ed or not, it's important to do your research and be well prepared:
Call the school for profile information or research its profile information online.
Schedule a visit to the school.
Talk to parents whose kids attend the school and pick their brains.
Make a school "Report Card," writing out a list of expectations and requirements that you, your partner and your daughter want any school to meet.
After you've done your homework, make your visits and compare your experiences to your Report Card. Then, whatever your decision, you'll feel comforted knowing it was an informed one.