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Canadian Elementary and Secondary Education System


Everyone wants a good education for their children. In Canada, school is mandatory for all children between the ages of about 6 and 18. Provinces and territories are responsible for delivering education, so the details about the way it is managed can vary across the country.

Education is paid for through taxes. There is no direct fee to register your child for a public school.

Some parents may decide to register their children in private schools, which they have to pay for.

Parents also have the right to teach their children at home. This is called home schooling. Regulations vary between provinces and territories, so be sure to check with your provincial or territorial Ministry of Education.

The basic levels of schooling are called elementary, middle and secondary in most provinces. Many very young children attend preschool before they enter elementary school. But most children usually begin school when they are between theages of 4 and 6.

English and French are spoken incommunities all across the country. Parents have the right to have their child educated in either English or French. French or English-language options may differ, depending on the community where you choose to live.

A bit of research will indicate which language is most widely spoken thereand what schooling options are available.School starts in the morning and finishes in the afternoon. The exact schedule may vary, depending on the school.

Students go to school from Monday to Friday. The school year typically beginsin late August or early September and ends in June, with breaks during the year. Schools can offer additional, or extra-curricular, activities in which students can participate during and outside of regular school hours. These activities help children build leadership, physical and social skills.

Secondary or high school begins at grade 9 in most areas. By the time they complete their schooling, students will have received 12 years of education. They receive a secondary school diploma when they finish.

Contact your local school board to get more information and to enrol your child in school. You will need to provide your child’s birth certificate, a proof of guardianship or custody, a proof of residency, a record of vaccinations and a contact in case of emergency.

Many schools have settlement support workers to help you and your child understand how the education system works and to adjust to school in Canada.