“You are not wearing that to school!”
Does this sound familiar? Getting your child up and ready for school can be challenging without having an argument over what she or he is going to wear.
Or maybe you’ll recognize this plea: “I need a pair of Nikes and this shirt from American Eagle. It’s what all the kids are wearing (this week).”
While this isn’t a problem if you have an unlimited budget and/or your child won’t grow out of her or his clothes within a year, for many of us, an expensive school wardrobe just isn’t practical.
The above examples are just two of the perks of having a school uniform, and we can probably all agree that avoiding arguments and saving money are indeed great benefits. Now let’s take a look at some of the other pros:
Behavior: Educational experts have noted that a school uniform requirement encourages students to behave appropriately in the classroom. Having this rule is an observable indication that the school is a structured environment with specific behavioral expectations, which in turn leads to more students following them. In 2013, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) reported that upon instituting dress code requirements, schools saw an 85 percent positive impact on classroom discipline and a 79 percent positive impact on student safety.
Professionalism: You may not think in terms of professionalism when it comes to school, but it really does apply. Picture the workplace. Most employers want you to be comfortable, but they have to set limits. Imagine wearing your most comfortable pajamas to work. In this outfit, do you see yourself working hard or wanting to slouch down in your chair and take a nap? We bet you’d want to nap — it’s amazing how much what you wear affects your state of mind. Wearing professional clothes, or in this case following a strict dress code, sends a signal to your brain saying it’s time to work, which, in turn, leads to higher achievement overall. NAESP also reported that schools that introduced a uniform policy saw a 64 percent positive impact on student achievement. Do you remember the age-old saying, “Dress for Success?” It really is great advice!
G-rated style: We can all picture articles of clothing that would be considered distracting and even offensive. This category could include anything from a T-shirt logo to matters of modesty, for example skirts that are too short or jeans that sag well below the waist. Without a uniform, what is and what is not appropriate becomes a controversial issue. However, when there is a dress code in place, there’s no question and no debate.
Leveling the playing field: Let’s face it, there’s more talk about fashion in school than there is in an issue of Vogue, and unfortunately, the conversation isn’t always positive. Kids are under a lot of pressure to wear the “right” jeans and the “right” shoes, and those who don’t, whether it is a matter of style or money, are often subject to teasing and bullying. However, when all students have to adhere to the same dress code, this problem is eliminated.
Wear your pride on your sleeve: When students wear a uniform, they embody a sense of uniformity and community. In other words, a dress code creates the feelings of belonging and school spirit — and these feelings are beneficial for students of all ages.
So as you can see, there are numerous benefits to wearing school uniforms. The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford firmly believe in enforcing the dress code as a means of preserving the structure and safe environment that allows all of our students to learn. And because there are rules about what students can and cannot wear to school, you have one less thing to worry about.
For tips on how to save money on school uniforms, see our blog “Simple Savings: Cost Effective Tools for Faith-Based Schools.”