Elementary & Secondary Schools

Elementary and secondary school services are free for children between the ages of 4 to 18 years. Services are delivered in both English and French languages. Parents may also choose a publicly funded Catholic education for their children.

Elementary schools provide junior kindergarten and kindergarten programs for children aged 4 and 5 years on an optional basis. The first stage of compulsory learning begins at age 6 years. Elementary schools focus on basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as knowledge in the sciences, languages, geography, history, arts and physical education. In Northwestern Ontario, elementary education generally refers to Grades 1 to 8.

Students progress to secondary school (high school) after completion of their elementary education. Secondary education comprises Grades 9 to 12. In addition to academic studies, secondary schools offer extracurricular activities such as hockey, basketball, drama, music, soccer and athletics. It is also compulsory to complete 40 hours of volunteer experience in the community in order to graduate.

If a student successfully completes their secondary education to Ontario standards, they may pursue a postsecondary education. The stages of the elementary and secondary school are:

Kindergarten (4-6 years):

  • Public funded elementary schools (including English, French and Catholic)
  • Private daycare

Elementary (6-13 years):

  • Public funded elementary schools (including English, French and Catholic)
  • Private elementary schools

Secondary (13-18 years):

  • Public funded secondary schools (including English, French and Catholic)
  • Private secondary schools

Quick facts:

  • The Canadian school year runs from September to June, with two school semesters.
  • The longest holiday is over the summer period (June-September).
  • Most educational institutions close for at least six weeks during the summer holidays.
  • The school day generally runs from 8.30am to 3.15pm.
  • Most schools do not require students to wear a uniform
  • A school bus service is offered to most students.
  • Before and after school programs provide childcare services for working families.

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