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hubbyandmeplus3

kindergarten in Calgary

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hubbyandmeplus3

Hi everybody/ hello almal daar in Calgary

We have been living in Texas for 2 years now and hope to be in Calgary soon. Hubby is having a 3rd interview with a company based in Calgary this Friday. I am trying to get my head around how the schools in Calgary work and what the standard of education is.

  1. I understand that you must go to the school that your street address is zoned to ( its the same here in Texas ) but then I read that people are complaining that even if you live in a house across from the school that you not guaranteed a place there. So is it just pot luck where your kids end up going to school? I am nervous of going through the effort of making sure we get a house in a good neighborhood with good schools but then my kids end up going to a school in another neighborhood that is maybe not as good.
  2. Then I cant understand how can kids go to Kindergarten for only about 2 1/2 hours a day. What do they learn in such a short amount of time. Over here Kindergarten is a full day 8:10-3:30 Child 1 was in KG last year and seeing all the work they did at school I cant figure out how do they do it in Canada with just 2 1/2 hours a day. When we first moved here from England I was concerned that the American school system is a year behind England's but now it seems that Canada is a year behind America. Can all your mammas that did KG recently please tell me what they teach the kids in KG. When they move up to first grade can the kids read and write by then?

At the moment my biggest concern is the school situation. Child 2 is due to start KG in September. Over here they have quite a high standard of education and parents spend thousands of dollars on pre-schools so by the time kids start KG they can read, write and do basic maths already. But on the otherhand we are excited about a possible move to Calgary. We will have family in the area and have all that lovely scenery to go and explore. I will defenitely be back with more questions but for now are looking forward to hear what you all have to say about the education in Calgary.

Ek verstaan nog Afrikaans so julle kan maar in Sfrikaans ook antwoord.

Groete vanuit Houston

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Dedré

Hi Hanna,

First let me welcome you to the forum and congratulate you guys on the 3rd interview. It is a very exciting time for you guys, and I hope the process is straight forward and easy.

I can only comment on your first concern, as I don't have kids in school yet, I just know the basics. Yes, you are right. The school system here is not the most straight forward to understand. It is a headache for lots of parents. The lunch hour is so long and some parents are forced to put their children into daycare during those hours. It costs them a ridiculous amount of money if a parent isn't working from home to be with them during that time. The other problem is what to do with your kid during that time if you are able to be with them. Its just inconvenient and silly when you have younger children. The private schools are awesome but expensive. They are normally Christian schools. They are worth every penny and if you have two children or more attending it gets "cheaper". Unfortunately not cheap enough for us yet. So we are also looking at public schools in Calgary.

Though the public school system isn't really that bad, it still is a nightmare sometimes. We have friends who live on the border of a few school zones. Every now and again the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) re-zones the schools in that area, and then her child might not be able to attend the school she is currently in. The girl's best friend have been zoned out of the school she attended and the parents had to move just a block to be able to send the friend to the current school.

Then the choices of kinds of schools were also a nightmare for her. The CBE have different types of schools:

HERE and for Kindergarten go HERE if your child has no special needs and and HERE is preschool for children with special needs. The CBE does not provide preschool for children who are developing.

Under the first link given you can search schools by any type possible (CBE area, grade, addresses, interactive map using city quadrants, designation by residential district and grade, your address and website/profile). The link is to the top left of the page called: "schools and areas". My suggestion is to contact the CBE (HERE scroll down for "Kindergarten" listed alphabetically, click on it and it will open a window to send them an e-mail or you could phone the number listed) and get a listing of the kindergartens that do have space, investigate if those schools are to your liking (since you get different types of schools like TLC, French Immersion, Computer schools, Science schools, Reading schools and so on) and then enroll your kid into that school. Then choose a house in that neighborhood. Or choose a house in that neighborhood and then enroll your kid, since I think you would need an address to enroll (not so sure what the procedure is).

I can assure you the schools are up to standard here in Calgary. It all depends on the learner and the parents on how the child progresses. I have heard it is quite normal for a child to be able to know the alphabet and the phonetics before they go to school. If not they are considered behind. I don't know if that is just for "reading schools" or across the board. Our friends have complained that children are expected to learn to read and write advanced up to a point where playing and natural learning is just ignored and pushed aside. How true this is, I can not say since this is one example of one parent couple living in an area where the school system is driving them nuts. I have not heard other parents complaining, so it will be interesting to hear the views of other parents.

What I can recommend is the following. I have only heard good things about the TLC and French immersion schools here in Calgary. TLC (Traditional Learning Centers) are allot like the schools we had in SA. There aren't many around here in Calgary, but worth it to get your kids into those schools. They still wear uniforms. To get your kid into one of those schools, might be difficult. The French Immersion schools are awesome too. Children come out of those schools speaking two languages. It is quite awesome.

I hope there are other people in Calgary that have first hand experience in this regard to be able to help you with your questions. All the best for your possible move.

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hubbyandmeplus3

Hi Dedre

Thank You very much for the very informative reply.

I saw the TLC alternative programs and is very interested in that but from what I have read there is long waiting lists for thoses schools. We were always interested in putting our kids in French Immersion but unfortunately my oldest who is 7 yrs old missed the early immersion oppertunity. We are still playing with the idea of putting the younger 2 in French Immersion but can imagine it must be a nightmare having children in 2 different schools. I am trying to get as much information together as I can. If hubby gets the job he only needs to give 2 weeks notice down here in the States so everything will happen so fast. We have Canadian PR already so no worries for visas. And I would like to move before the school year ends so that we can get a chance to get inside some of the schools and see what they look like etc. My oldest is in 1st grade over here but already did 3 years of full time education ( he did Kindergarten in England ). But what i did find out because he is a September 2004 baby he should be in 2nd grade in Calgary. So rather than let him go straight into 3rd grade in the new school year I would feel better if he does even just a month of 2nd grade in Calgary before the schools close for the summer and see how things compare to what he has been doing in school over here.

Like I said as much as this whole school thing is stressing me out we are still very hopeful that hubby will get the job because from what we have seen and heard Calgary just sounds so lovely and hopefully will make this our last move.

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Dedré

Hanna,

You are welcome. On a different note, I don't think 7 years is late to start French Immersion (I speak under correction though. I don't know for sure). I would rather contact them and find out what they recommend. 7 Is still and optimal age to learn a second language.

Its awesome to hear you guys have got PR in hand already. It makes things go allot easier. A move from the states to Canada is easier since you have changed to the North American system already with regards to driving and so.

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Trevor&Anelle

First thing I found on Google

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading#data

Edited to add:

Scientific:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_sci_lit-education-scientific-literacy

Mathematics:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_mat_lit-education-mathematical-literacy

Literacy:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_rea_lit-education-reading-literacy

I know this isn't exactly what you asked for, but it seems that it seems to work well in the end. I have a friend with children in the lower levels of school in Calgary. I'll ask her to pop in and answer some of your questions :)

Edited by Trevor&Anelle

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hubbyandmeplus3

Thanks for that statistics trevor&anelle. That is what i keep on telling my husband as well. Statistice shows that world wide Canadian education seems to be one of the best compare to Uk and America but how do they achieve that with the kids having such short school days :-) But obviously like you said somehow they seems to make it work. I really hope that some more people will hopefully respond soon who have kids in Elementary school and tell me a bit more about their experiences.

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McCallums

"Alberta is the jurisdiction with the best educational results of any English speaking jurisdiction in the world," said Prime Minister Cameron at the House of Commons on Thursday, calling Canada a home of "innovation and technology."

Full Article can be read here: http://www.globaltvedmonton.com/britains+pm+gives+abs+education+system+top+marks/6442488400/story.html

You can also look up specific school ratings based on where you live: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/news/display.aspx?id=18055

Our oldest is in Kindergarden now and we moved to a specific area so he could attend the school we wanted, we did after all move here to give our kids a better future. I can only comment on his preschool which is a place called Learning Experience in the SW. We loved it and will definately be sending our youngest there when he`s old enough.

If I can give you one piece of advice it`s to call the school and interview them and a potential teacher before commiting your child, last year we had a pick of schools and nearly sent our son to one school, only to find out later that the school has not really got a good rep and quite a few parents were unhappy about the principal and teachers.

Good luck

Trev

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