Daily Attendance at School

The law in Ontario requires that all children attend school on a regular basis from 6 years of age until 18 years of age or until graduation from high school.  Many children can begin full day kindergarten program at age 4.

If a student has been away from school for a long period of time and the school has not been notified, a school board in your region may look into the reasons for their absence. If they feel there is reason to be concerned, they may contact the Children’s Aid Societies, which is funded and monitored by of the Ontario government and serves to protect the safety of children in Ontario and ensure their well-being. For more information about the Children’s Aid Societies, please visit their website.

Absence From School

If your children are going to be out of school for a long time, please tell the teacher ahead of time. Sometimes the teacher can suggest learning activities for your children while they are away from school. However, if possible, it is a good idea to try to arrange out-of-town travel during school vacation time so your children do not miss school time.

The school has a responsibility to ensure that all students arrive safely. If a student does not arrive by 9:00 a.m. and a parent has not phoned the school, someone will call the student’s home to inquire into their absence.

Please call the school when your children will be absent for any reason. It is important to call each day that your children miss school.

Absence from school: Please call the school before 9:00 a.m. if your children must miss school (due to illness, observing religious days, family emergencies, etc.). Some schools have a message machine for recording absences. Please call each day that your children miss school. Call the school when your children will be absent for any reason.

Here is a sample telephone message parents can leave on school telephone when a child will miss school: “This is < your name >. My child < her or his name > is sick today. She or He is in Grade < ? >. Her/His teacher’s name is < teacher’s name >.”


Parents may decide to provide an education for their children away from a school setting, at home (known as home-schooling); if they do so, they must inform a school board in their area each school year that they are doing so. Information about this option, and sample letter for the board is found on the Ministry of Education’s website.

Homeschooling is teaching your child at home. Visit the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents for more information about home schooling and related resources.

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This article is an excerpt from the Newcomers' Guide to Elementary School.

Last updated: July 25, 2016 4006106