School life in Canada

Teachers: Teachers usually have university education.

Mixed classes: In most schools, boys and girls learn together in the same classroom. Some private schools are for boys or girls only.

School curriculum: Every province and territory has official course work that students will be taught in each grade.

Religion: Some provinces have separate Catholic public schools, which students of any religion may attend. Most communities also have private schools with religious affiliations.

Textbooks and school supplies: Schools lend textbooks to their students. In general, you will have to buy school supplies such as pencils and paper for your children.

Special needs: Students may get help if they have special needs due to a:

  • physical;
  • cognitive;
  • psychological;
  • emotional;
  • behavioural;
  • linguistic; or
  • other difficulty.

Report cards: Children will get a report card several times during the school year that will tell you about their progress.

Missing school: In Canada, children must go to school every day. If your child is absent from school because of an illness or for personal reasons, you must tell the school.

Getting to school: Children can travel to and from school:

  • with their parents
  • on their own (by walking or by public transportation) when they are older
  • by school bus (sometimes provided by the school at little or no cost to parents)

Ask the school for information on school buses.

School closures: Schools sometimes close for one or more days in the winter because of snowstorms or severe cold. If this happens, you will hear about the closing:

  • through the school
  • on the radio
  • on television

Dress code: In general, children must follow a school dress code. Some schools require children to wear a uniform.

Extracurricular activities: These are activities that take place outside school hours (before school, after school or during lunch). These activities include sports, arts, hobby clubs, etc. Each school offers different extracurricular activities to students. These activities can help your child:

  • make friends
  • get used to the Canadian school system
  • gain interests in areas outside school

Field trips: Schools organize field trips outside the school for students to visit places that are relevant to their education. Field trips can be to places such as:  

  • museums
  • workplaces
  • cultural institutions
  • city neighbourhoods

Bullying: Term is defined as “wilful, repeated aggressive behaviour with negative intent used by a child to maintain power over another child.” In schools across Canada, bullying should not be tolerated. If your child is a victim of bullying, talk to their teacher or principal. Learn about bullying, prevention programs and more by visiting HealthyCanadians.

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Education video

This video offers information about:

  • English language classes
  • Translation and evaluation of your previous education
  • Enrolling your children in school

To watch the video, select your language and the topic “Education”.

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