Daily life in a Toronto school is (for most students) a very enjoyable experience. The Toronto District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education work hard to make sure that students in the city receive a quality education in clean, safe, harassment-free environments.
While some schools in Toronto operate a bus service for their students, many do not. Parents are free to drive their child to school and a lane in the school parking lot is often provided to ease the picking up and dropping off of students. Most schools are located near dedicated transit stops as well, so it’s relatively easy for students to take the city transit system to class.
A typical school day in Toronto begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 3:30 PM. An hour long lunch break at 12:00 is standard, and students are free to bring their lunches or purchase food from the schools cafeteria. Due to budget restraints, it’s rare for a school to have a dedicated dining hall, so it’s more likely that a large room like a multi-purpose room or gymnasium will be used. Some schools provide a hot lunch/breakfast program to provide adequate nutrition for their students, but many opt for a pay-only cafeteria system. Vending machines can be found in almost every school in Toronto, but the food & beverages in these machines are not necessarily a healthy alternative. In elementary schools, a 15-minute recess is offered in the middle of morning classes and another is provided in the mid-afternoon. High school students do not have the luxury of recess, but they may have “spares” or open class times built into their day, where they can pursue extracurricular activities or do homework.
While some schools maintain a school uniform policy, the majority of public schools in Ontario do not. The dress code is relatively casual, but students are not allowed to wear clothing that is too revealing, display offensive language or images, or any accessory that could be a danger to the wearer or anyone else. Comfortable rubber soled shoes are the norm, and students are not allowed to wear high heels.
Most schools provide lockers for their students while other, smaller schools, may provide a cubby area for storage of outdoor clothing, athletic wear, and text books. Students are required to provide their own locks and can decorate the inside of their lockers with pictures, provided they don’t post anything offensive. Locker checks are routinely conducted by school administration, and students are required to make their lockers accessible for these checks. Students are encouraged to bring backpacks or book bags to school with them so they can transport textbooks and materials they may need to their respective classes.
Teacher/student relationships are carefully monitored by the school’s administration, the Toronto District School Board, and the Ontario Ministry of Education. Parents should find it quite easy to contact any teacher that works with their child, and meetings between parents & teachers occur on a very regular basis in Ontario. Teachers are required to leave their classroom door open when working with students on a one-on-one basis. Every public school in Toronto is required to have a guidance counselor and a school nurse on staff, and light medical facilities such as a nurses station with a cot are often provided. It is the law in Ontario for every classroom to contain an emergency first aid kit.
School attendance is mandatory. If a student is unable to attend a class or school day, a note from their parent or guardian must be provided or the student will be considered truant and may be subjected to disciplinary action.