An academic setting that provides not only classroom instruction but also room and board for at least some of the students is called a boarding school. A boarding school may have both students who live at home and attend the school for classes, called “day students,” as well as students who make their home at the school during school terms.
If we were to group schools by their instructional focus, we might say that there are three types of boarding school. One of the types of boarding school is an academic boarding school. The goal of the academic boarding school is to prepare students for experiences in higher education. It is sometimes called a prep school, prep being short for preparatory.
Another of the types of boarding school, a specialty boarding school, has a special focus over and above the college preparatory curriculum, in one of several categories. All-girls and all-boys schools focus on the needs exhibited by children of each gender as they grow and develop. Military academies are a long-standing type of specialty boarding school with a focus on preparing students for a military career and/or for civilian service and leadership.
Sectarian schools are another of the types of boarding school with a special focus. These school are generally funded by and integrated with a religious community, whether Quaker, Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, and present academics in the light of the religious values espoused. Performing arts schools supplement academic training with pre-professional training in singing, theater, and/or dance. Performance opportunities are also provided. Sports school prepare highly qualified athletes in sports as varied as ice hockey and whitewater rapid racing.
Another type of specialty school adapts material for children in special circumstances. At the cusp between the specialty boarding school and the therapeutic boarding school you can find schools for students who are blind, Deaf, or hospitalized for long-term treatment.
The third of the types of boarding school, the therapeutic boarding school proper, may allow academics to take a back seat to a behavioral or emotional therapy provided mainly for troubled teens. These schools have a variety of names besides therapeutic boarding school, including emotional growth school and boarding school and wilderness program.