Have you ever moved to a new place as a parent and the first thought on your mind is regarding your child’s schooling? Well, that’s how it is for most parents.
As it is with most of Canada, schools in Hamilton, Ontario encompasses Kindergarten to High School levels. The Kindergarten to High school is otherwise known and referred to as K-12 or ‘K through 12.
Hamilton brags of a vigorous ‘Public school’ system, which in Canada refers absolutely to government-funded free education, instead of a category of private schooling, as within the UK.
Provinces bear most of the responsibility for primary and Secondary education in Canada, and therefore the systems can vary significantly between provinces. Across Canada, schooling is usually co-educational — with boys and girls educated together throughout K-12 — and public-school attendance is remarkably higher than that of private school attendance.
There are three stages of pre-university education: kindergarten, elementary (grades one to eight), and high school (grades nine to twelve). In Ontario, there are two years of voluntary Kindergarten: Junior or JK (age four) and Senior or SK (age five), and schooling continues up to Grade 12. Education is compulsory up to the age of 18, or until your child graduates high school (in rare cases, however, this will happen before 18).
Public schools are funded by the federal and provincial governments, and follow a classic curriculum established by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Public schools within the environment of Hamilton and its surrounding area are all under the umbrella of the Hamilton and Wentworth District School Board, or HWDSB, whose 104 schools in Hamilton and therefore the surrounding area educate almost 50,000 K-12 students.
The school your child will attend is ordinarily determined by where you reside. Children are generally placed in a school on the brink of their home, and every school covers an assigned area or ‘catchment area’. The HWDSB provides maps of every school’s catchment basin on its website.
In recent years, subject-oriented programs are better integrated so as to give the liberty for more children to specialize in particular areas — for instance, French immersion or sports academy programs — that are offered at schools outside their catchment basin.
As your child’s school may play a big part in your decision-making of where to reside, it’s important to understand the available alternatives when looking for properties and neighborhoods.
Contact the varsity board to find out more about how and when to register your child for college in Hamilton – this could generally be done at your area school as soon as possible upon arrival.
While schools in Hamilton and across Canada largely operate with a secular mandate, Catholic school boards are common. The Hamilton and Wentworth District Catholic school Board (HWDCSB) runs 55 elementary and high schools with a Catholic-focused curriculum.
In Ontario, Catholic school boards also receive provincial funding and are attended by a growing number of non-Catholic students (estimated at six to seven percent within the 2016/2017 school year).
What to expect at a Canadian school?
While many elements of education in Canada could also be almost like schools around the world, it’s crucial to possess some idea of the environment your child will be found in when schooling in Hamilton.
Homework may be a recurring feature in Hamilton schools from grade school onwards. Class sizes at the rudimentary level are normally small, around 20 to 25 students or less.
Students at the elementary level study a variety of subjects that has the humanities, French as a second language, health and education, mathematics, science subjects, social studies, native languages, and more.
There are far fewer high schools than elementary schools within the Hamilton area, then school and sophistication sizes typically increase when a student enters grade 9. It is expected of teenagers in Canadian high schools independent in their studies, and longer projects and group work becomes something of the regular.
The field of subjects taught at the secondary level also increases. Your child may study the humanities, business studies, Canadian and World studies, languages, computer studies, literature, science, native studies, and far more – the Ministry of Education provides a full list of subjects and curricula.
Many of the stereotypical traits of American high schools so popular in movies also are present in Canadian high schools. Hallways lined with lockers and busy cafeterias are omnipresent – and realistically, a particular number of cliques and subcultures find their way into a lifestyle too.
The likelihood is that your child or teen will find a set of friends with shared interests, regardless of what those could also be.
The classic yellow bus is a regular sight in Hamilton: transport for schools within the HWDSB and HWCDSB is managed by the Hamilton and Wentworth School Transportation Services, or HWSTS. Eligibility for a spot on the varsity bus depends on where the kid lives: if the walking distance to high school is bigger than 1km (for Kindergarten students), 1.6km (for elementary students), or 3.2km (for high school students) the kid could also be considered eligible.
High school is a defining phase of life for several teens, so it’s always ideal to understand little about what to expect if your child goes to high school in Hamilton.
The standard of education among Hamilton’s high schools can vary, as any educational environment is greatly influenced by the keenness and aptitude of the scholars, nearly as by the staff.
There is generally a healthy focal point in “extra-curricular” (activities like sports or music) in addition to academics. An ingenious range of specialized programs including subjects like bike repair, health support services, construction, cosmetology, and humanities programs ensure students have access to career training before graduation.
International Baccalaureate and university preparation courses can also be available, dependent on the varsity.
Many students within the Hamilton area excel academically, and universities in southern Ontario, Toronto, and Montreal – along with the well-ranked local McMaster University – are popular among Hamilton’s high school graduates.
Most students leave school for work or college programs, and Ontario has one of Canada’s best-regarded junior college systems, including the local Mohawk College.
Private education, while less common, remains a vigorous option within the Hamilton area. Private school-home costs from about $7,000 to $21,000 a year, depending on the school, the age of the kid, and various other factors.
Montessori schools fall within this category, and there are on the brink of a dozen within the Hamilton area. While there’s no central board or website for information on private schools, you’ll find an inventory of personal schools in Hamilton here, which results in more information on each school.
As in any child- or teen-dominated environment, friendship groups will form and hack. Some kids get into sports, some get into music, some could also be out with friends constantly and a few may never leave their bedroom.
In this way, school life in Canada could be in essence like school life anywhere. Your child may love or hate it, but whatever their opinion thereon, the curriculum and opportunities provided by a faculty in Canada are world-class.