From Kindergarten To High School: Canada’s Education System
By: Liza Ilin
Canada is known for many things, but one of its most prominent attributes is the education system that is in place. Ranked eighth in the world in a 2020 survey conducted to distinguish the top countries for education, Canada offers a diverse variety of institutions. Ranging from publicly-funded schools to private schools, these settings spread widely across the country to allow for easier accessibility and opportunities to Canada’s youth and promising generation of workers.
Generally, schooling begins at an early age of four to five years old in an establishment known as kindergarten. This program serves to equip children with social tools and behaviours that will be crucial to them later on in life. They begin to develop social habits by communicating with the students around them and showing good behaviour in class, as well as they stimulate their brains by learning the basics. This includes drawing, colouring, counting, singing, and other classroom activities. Kindergarten typically lasts either one or two years, from which the child then moves onto Grade One.
At this level of education, students begin to follow the trajectory of a normal school year; going to school from September to June while being in class five times a week. In this setting, also known as elementary schooling, they learn basic concepts in subjects such as math, science and the languages. Usually, these fundamentals are taught by the same teacher, until they move onto the following grade.
Depending on the region, students begin their middle school adventure at different times, whether this be in Grade Four all the way up to Grade Seven. This period of schooling is moreso considered a ‘transition’ from the basics and fundamentals, to more in depth learning and exposure to the real world which will be seen later on in High School. During these few years in Middle School, students begin to experience a wider variety of subjects and teachers. These lessons become more detailed, difficult and demanding, requiring the completion of homework and solid understanding of the material being taught. Furthermore, there is an evident shift from creativity, to studying and acquiring further knowledge. Teachers switch the gear from group activities that have the intent of being fun, to assignments and tests that are to be written and completed individually.
When a student finishes Grade Eight, they open a new chapter of their life, High School. In High school, there are much higher expectations, both socially and academically. Students now have the opportunity to choose the subjects that they would like to study, as well as they are offered a far greater variety of subjects, clubs and school teams to join. This is really when grades begin to matter and students have to make decisions wisely, because their future lies in their hands and is their responsibility. To graduate, students are required to write provincial exams at the end of a semester, depending on when they take a certain course. Or, in schools that are non-semestered, students sit down to write all of their exams at the end of the year. They must also successfully complete all of the credits required, as well as a certain amount of hours of community service.
Once a student has successfully completed all the years of schooling including Grade Twelve, they are then faced with Post-secondary education. This decision comes in two forms; University or College. In order to attend either one, the student must first submit an application and hear back from the institute with the promise of getting a spot. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree, students sometimes pursue their postsecondary studies by doing a Masters Degree (MA) or going further by completing a doctorate (PhD).
Overall, there are many other forms of education and options for students living in Canada. Whether it is through vocational schools (also known as trade schools ), private schools at any stage of their schooling, home schooling, religious schools, and the choice of education in French or English. Since Canada is a bilingual country, some institutions offer schooling in both, or either one of these languages. In a traditional public education setting, schools offer French Immersion or Core French. These programs are implemented into English schools to give students the opportunity to learn French at the level of their choosing. Opposingly, in Quebec, students usually enrol in French schools, where they can take language courses to learn English.
This system of education has been implemented for many years and has seen promising and successful results. Students are able to find employment, discover their interests as well as choose the path that is the most well suited for them. With these guarantees and opportunities, that is why Canada has secured a place in the top ten educational institutions around the world.
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