Canada is bilingual country of English- and French-speaking populations, and students are offered the opportunity to choose from French- and English language schools. There are also private and free public schools and parents are free to educate their children at home.
The Education System
School boards are also known as district education councils, divisions, and districts and are tasked with student enrollment, staff, facilities, and administration. Generally, the school system encompasses university colleges and universities, summer camps, secondary schools, language schools, career colleges, technical institutes and community colleges, private and publicly funded schools, and daycare. Education programs in Canada’s territories and provinces begin with grade 1 or kindergarten and continue to grade 12 (students aged 17 or 18). Quebec is the only exception where students graduate from school a year earlier. In some provinces, for example, Ontario, children start at the age of 4 – 5. This option is available through the Junior Kindergarten Program. In other provinces, school starts at the age of 5 while grade 1 normally begins at the age of 6. In many provinces and territories, elementary education encompasses grades 1 to 7 or children aged 6 to 13. Junior high school programs are also available in some provinces and encompass grades 6 – 9. These are called middle, intermediate, and junior secondary. There are provincial differences when it comes to schooling, programs available, and funding.
Secondary school covers grades 8 through 12 and is offered to students aged 14 – 18. Again, Quebec is an exception where secondary school encompasses grades 7 – 11. In some provinces education is compulsory until the age of 18 while in others – until the age of 17. Universities in Canada offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD programs in different disciplines. Co-op programs and internships are also offered as a way to establish business contacts, gain valuable work experience and enhance one’s work resume, and make money. Students also have access to hundreds of scholarships, grants, and low-cost financing to pay tuition, board, and other expenses. Scholarships are offered based on leadership skills, academic excellence, and other factors while grants are available based on financial need. What is more, reports show that Canada boosts the highest retention and completion rate when it comes to postsecondary education.
Kindergarten and School Curriculum
Speaking of the school curriculum, subjects vary by grade and include social studies, science and technology, native languages, mathematics, language, health and physical education, French as a second language, and the arts. Kindergarten programs vary by province and involve different approaches such as early numeracy development, literacy and language development, learning through inquiry and exploration and learning in real life contexts. Community partners, principals, parents, teachers, and children have a role to play in the learning process.
Types of Schools in Canada
In addition to public and private schools, there are special needs programs for students with serious learning difficulties and disabilities. Some schools are paid but programs are often funded by provincial government funds and agencies and non-for-profit and other private organizations. International schools are also available across Canada and offer English language classes to non-native speakers. Classes are offered in cooperation with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and local settlement agencies. Home schooling is also an option for families with school-age children but the requirements vary from one province to another. In some provinces, families are required to report on a regular basis while in others notification is sufficient.