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Children’s Education

How the School System Works

Some schools in Kingston are run by the Limestone District School Board and some are operated by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.   Our laws require children 5 years of age and older to attend a school regularly.

The school “year” runs from the beginning of September until the end of June.

The relationship between parents and teachers may not be as formal as you are used to but parents are expected to be in contact with the teacher to help ensure their child has a positive experience and to solve problems.   It is a good idea to speak with your child’s teacher often.

Children do not wear uniforms to school (except for those attending certain Catholic Schools). Girls may wear pants to school and all children should dress in clean, comfortable clothes which are appropriate for the weather of the day.  To ensure nutritious and inexpensive lunches, most children take their lunch to school.  Every child spends at least one hour outside each day during “lunch” and “recess” and therefore needs to be dressed warm enough during the cooler months (November to March).

There may be educational tours and trips planned for your child’s class during the term. Sometimes, parents will be asked to pay for the cost of these trips.   If you think this will be a concern for your family, speak to the teacher or principal of the school about it.

For further information about the school system, please visit

Information for parents is available in many languages from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Registering your Child at a School

You should contact the applicable public school board (administration) to register your child/children:

Choosing a School
Where your child will study is based, in part, on where you live.  The school boards provide a “School Finder” to show you the school(s) associated with a given address. Some parents will consider school options as part of their search for a place to live.  You can contact the schools directly, or the school board (noted above) for more information.  Either the school staff or the school board can explain the process for registering your child at their school.
Tuition fees for primary and secondary can cost up to $12,500/year for international students.  To get a fee exemption (cancellation of all fees), one parent must either have a work permit or a study permit (and be enrolled in an academic program that leads to a degree – excludes students of the Queen’s School of English and Visiting Research Students).  To prove that you qualify for this exemption, you must speak with representatives of the applicable school board.
Preventing Problems for your Child at School
Should your child appear to be experiencing difficulty socially or academically at school, the child’s teacher should be contacted.   Before your child’s anxiety becomes a serious problem, telephone the school to make an appointment to speak with the teacher.   Remember, parents are expected to be very much involved in their children’s education.   You are also encouraged to meet with the teacher if you have questions at any other time of the school year.

Your children should always be dressed for school according to the weather and the activities they will be involved in at school. For instance, if a calm winter day threatens to become windy and therefore dangerously cold to exposed skin, send your child off with a warm hat and scarf, in addition to his or her coat. On physical education days (days with classes designed for school children to get some exercise), children will need to have clothes that allow for movement and comfort.
Further Questions?
If you have further questions, after reviewing the information above, advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisers at the Queen’s University International Centre from Monday to Friday between 1:00pm and 4:30pm.

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