St. John Vianney Catholic School

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Serving The Communities of:
✞ Rancho Cordova ✞ Orangevale ✞ Gold River
✞ Folsom ✞ Citrus Heights ✞ Sacramento

Making a decision about your child’s education is not just a matter of weighing the practical considerations; it’s about choosing a path that will help shape your child’s personality, worldview, and future. We understand the complexity of this choice and are here to provide comprehensive insights into various educational systems, including Goddard, Montessori, secular private, public, Waldorf, and more.

In the end, however, our aim is to help you understand why a Catholic education stands apart and might be the most suitable choice for your child’s development from preschool through 9th grade.

Education TypeSpiritual/Moral EducationLearning StyleUse of TechnologyClassroom SizeTuitionCommunity InvolvementUniformsCollege PreparationExtra-Curricular ActivitiesTeacher-Student Relationship
CatholicIntegrated spiritual and moral teachings.Balanced between structured and experiential learning.Balanced, integrated use.Typically smaller then other choices.Generally more affordable than private educationHigh emphasis on service and communityGenerally requiredStrong preparation, high college attendance ratesWide range of offerings.Close relationships fostered
GoddardNot typically part of the curriculum.Play-based, experiential learning.Introduced gradually.Smaller in early yearsCan be high, varies by locationSome community involvementNot typically requiredEarly focus on social and emotional developmentLimited in early yearsClose relationships in early years.
MontessoriGenerally absent, focuses on respect for others.Child-led, self-paced learning.Limited use, focus on tangible learning.Smaller, mixed-age classrooms.Can be high, varies by locationDepends on the individual schoolNot typically requiredIndependent learning skills can benefit college preparationVaries by school, emphasis on real-world experiencesOften close, teachers may stay with a class for multiple years
WaldorfOften includes a spiritual, but non-denominational component.Holistic, integrates academics with arts and practical skills.Limited use, focus on natural, experiential learning.Generally smallerCan be high, varies by location.High emphasis on communityNot typically requiredHolistic approach can foster well-rounded individuals.Emphasis on practical and artistic activitiesClose relationships, teachers often stay with a class for multiple years
Secular (Private)Varies, but generally not included.Structured, rigorous curriculumTypically high useGenerally smallerTypically highDepends on the individual schoolOften requiredStrong preparation, high college attendance ratesWide range of offeringsClose relationships fostered
PublicNot included due to the separation of church and state.State-mandated curriculum, varied learning styles.Varies by district and resources.Typically larger, varies by district.Free for residents of the district.Varies by districtVaries by districtVaries widely by district and schoolWide range, but can be limited by resourcesVaries by school size and resources


Goddard’s model places a high emphasis on learning through play in a nurturing environment. While this approach is commendable, Catholic education combines a nurturing environment with a disciplined structure, that prepares children for life. Additionally, while Goddard’s schools claim a 90% kindergarten readiness rate, Catholic schools stand proud with a 98% readiness rate, according to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).

Goddard School places a strong emphasis on play-based, experiential learning in early childhood. They focus on nurturing children in a secure environment where they feel loved, comfortable, and ready to explore their world.


Montessori education is child-led and encourages independence. However, this system often lacks the structured curriculum that is beneficial in the long run. Catholic schools not only promote independence but also provide clear guidelines and expectations, creating a balance of freedom and structure. 88% of Catholic school students apply to college, compared to 72% of Montessori students, reflecting the strong academic foundation of Catholic education.

Montessori education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is deeply grounded in the idea of child-led learning. Children in Montessori classrooms are given a certain level of freedom to choose their activities and work at their own pace, fostering a sense of independence and self-directed learning.


Waldorf education values creativity and imagination. Still, they often eschew technology, which is increasingly important in our modern world. Catholic schools promote creativity but also embrace modern technology, preparing students for the future. Catholic school students perform significantly better in STEM subjects, with a 92% proficiency rate in Math and Science.

Waldorf education, founded by Rudolf Steiner, focuses on holistic development, integrating academic, artistic, and practical disciplines for a balanced education. It aims to stimulate imagination and creativity and values the teacher-student relationship, with teachers often staying with a class for multiple years.

Secular Private Education

Secular private education is often seen as elite due to high tuition fees, but they lack a moral and spiritual framework, which is integral in the holistic development of a child. Catholic schools, despite their lower tuition, deliver a high-quality education. Additionally, Catholic students score 20% above the national average in standardized tests, compared to the 15% by secular private schools.

Secular private education varies greatly in philosophy, depending on the particular school or network. However, they generally pride themselves on offering a challenging and rich curriculum, small class sizes, and varied extracurricular activities. These schools typically lack a unifying spiritual framework and tend to be more expensive.

Public Education

Public schools offer a community-based learning environment but often suffer from lack of funds and overcrowded classrooms. In contrast, Catholic schools maintain smaller class sizes and a more personalized approach, contributing to a 99% high school graduation rate. Also, the NCEA reports that Catholic school students consistently outscore their public school counterparts on standardized assessments by over 30%.

Public schools, funded by tax dollars, are mandated to provide a free education to all children in their district. They follow a state-dictated curriculum and are often larger, which can result in less individual attention for students. Public schools aim to serve all students and reflect the diversity of their community.


In conclusion, Catholic education provides not only excellent academic preparation but also instills moral values and community spirit, preparing your child for a balanced life. We understand the importance of this decision and invite you to explore the benefits of a Catholic education more deeply. In the end, it’s about giving your child the best start in life, and we believe a Catholic education does just that.

Catholic education integrates spiritual and moral education within the academic curriculum. It emphasizes community, service, and tradition alongside high academic standards. Catholic schools often provide an affordable alternative to secular private education while maintaining similar benefits, such as smaller class sizes and a strong community.

Understanding these philosophies can help you determine which environment will be most conducive to your child’s learning style and your family’s values. While each has its unique benefits, Catholic education offers a blend of strong academics, moral guidance, community service, and a sense of belonging that sets it apart from other forms of education.

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