Canada’s education system is fairly basic and easy to understand. The governing body of all schools in Toronto is the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). They maintain all of the standards that are followed by every school at every grade/age level in the city of Toronto. The TDSB receives funding from all three levels of government (City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, Canadian Federal Government). They maintain a large staff of administrators that frequently inspect Toronto schools to maintain quality.
Education usually begins with two levels of kindergarten, known as Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK). In order to be eligible for JK, the child must turn 4 years old by December 31st of the school year. For SK, the child must turn 5 by December 31st of the school year. Kindergarten is not a legal requirement, but it’s a very good way to acclimatize your child to the education system, and almost all parents in Toronto take advantage of this learning opportunity. Kindergarten classes in Toronto have recently been extended to full days. Class begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM.
Once your child completes indergarten, or if your child turns 6 years old by December 31st of the school year, it’s time for them to begin elementary school. All schools in Canada use numbered grades, beginning with grade one. Elementary school ends at grade six. After your child has completed grade six, they will move on to junior high school, which is grades seven to nine. Once those grades are completed, the student moves on to high school (grades ten to twelve) for the final phase of their education. All classes are full day classes that usually commence at 9:00 AM and run until 3:30 PM.
Every school in the TDSB follow a very similar curriculum, in order to prevent transferring students from falling behind. While there is no formal national, provincial, or regional examination system, all exams are carefully scrutinized by the TDSB in order to maintain the set curriculum. Exams throughout Toronto are usually held twice per year. Mid-term exams are held in late February/early March, and final exams are held during the last week of June.
Registration month is February, and only a legal parent or guardian can register a child. It’s important to note that different schools hold their registrations on different days throughout the month of February. To find out where you should be enrolling your child, call 416-394-7526 or visit
http://www.tdsb.on.ca and select Find Your School from the Quick Links menu.
On registration day, you’ll need to bring proof of:
- proof of age (a birth certificate or baptismal record or passport)
- proof of address (two pieces of identification that show your address, such as your telephone bill, driver’s
- license, etc.)
- immunization records (the card that shows a list of needles your child has received)
If your child was not born in Canada, you will also need to provide verification of date of arrival. If your family has permanent residency or refuge status, you can register directly at the school. Otherwise you will need to go to the International Program and Admissions Office of the Toronto District School Board at 5050 Yonge Street. Once there you will need to obtain a TDSB School Admission Letter. Children without immigration status are welcome to attend school in Toronto. The TDSB does not share information with immigration authorities, as per TDSB Policy P.061 SCH.
The main language of Toronto schools is English, but there are also a large number of French Immersion schools in Toronto, where all education and day-to-day business is done in French. For more information on French immersion schools in Toronto, click here.