Daily Life at School in Ontario

All publicly funded schools in Ontario must follow certain rules set out by the Ministry of Education.

They must ensure that these rules are in place to help all students be successful in school and to ensure their safety and well-being. Some rules are designed to help the school run more smoothly.

Getting to School by School Bus

If your children live a distance from the school, school bus transportation may be available. If your children need assistance with transportation because of a special education need or some other kind of need, some kind of transportation would be provided (though not necessarily by bus). Please ask before registering at the school. School bus and other transportation arrangements and policies vary between school boards, so please ask before registering at the school to find out what kind of transportation exists and if your children are eligible. Normally, the school bus transportation system is free of charge.

Supervision of Students in the School Yard

Every school day there will be a school staff member on the school property, in the school yard for at least 15 minutes before school starts and 15 minutes after school ends. During recess (a break in the child’s school day during which students play outside or participate in schoolrelated activities) your children are also supervised in the schoolyard.

If your children stay at school for lunch, the school will supervise them (during extreme weather conditions, children are kept inside during recess and lunch breaks.)

Students are not supervised at any other time. It is important not to leave young children in the schoolyard early in the morning or late after school – when supervision is not provided by the school.

What are extracurricular activities?

Generally, extracurricular activities take place before or after school.

Many schools offer these types of programs, which can include ESL help, sports, clubs, music, theater, student government and many others. Sometimes these are called cocurricular activities. Sometimes they happen during the regular school but generally they take place before or after school.

The programs are usually open to all students and are supervised by a teacher.

Participating in extracurricular activities at school is a great way for newcomer students to make friends, practise their English and feel part of the school community. As well, many universities and colleges consider a student’s extracurricular activities and community involvement when evaluating the student’s application for admission or for scholarships.

For more information about extracurricular activities in your school, speak to a teacher or the guidance counsellor.

Dressing For School

Most schools have a dress code that describes what students may (and may not) wear to school. If you have questions or concerns about your school’s dress code or uniform, you can speak to your children’s teacher.

Gym or Physical Education (Phys Ed) class

The school may require students to wear particular clothing during Phys Ed classes held in the gymnasium or outside: for example, running shoes, shorts and t-shirts.

Dressing for outside play

Students are expected to play outdoors at recess and before and after school, except when the weather makes it unsafe or unpleasant. Students need clothing that is adequate for outside play in wintertime (for example, a warm coat, hat, scarf, boots and even snowpants).

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

Last updated: July 26, 2016 4006108