Students with Children


Canadian laws require children 5 years of age and older to attend school.

Minor children who come to Canada as visitors with a parent who holds a study or work permit can attend pre-school, primary school, or secondary school without a study permit. Schools in Kingston are run by either the Limestone District School Board or the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board

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

The relationship between parents and teachers may be less formal than in other educational contexts. Schools and teachers generally communicate regularly with parents, and parents can contact teachers if they have a question or issue to discuss. 

Children do not wear uniforms to school (except for those attending certain Catholic or private schools). Children should dress in the clothes that make them feel comfortable (for example, girls may wear pants). Children spend at least one hour outside each day during recess and need to dress in weather-appropriate clothing, especially during the colder winter months (November to March).

Most children take their own lunch to school to ensure nutritious and inexpensive lunches,. 

Educational field trips are common, and parents are often asked to pay for of these trips. If field trip costs may be a concern for your family, speak to the teacher or principal about available financial resources.  

For further information about the school system, please visit

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

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

Choosing a School

Where your child will study is partly based on where you live. The school boards provide a School Finder to show you the school(s) associated with your 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 of registering your child at their school.


Tuition fees for primary and secondary school 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 – please note this 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 the necessary school board.

Is your child struggling socially or academically at school? You can call the school and make an appointment to speak with their teacher before the behaviour becomes a serious concern. 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 child should always be dressed 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 with a warm hat and scarf, in addition to their coat. On physical education days (days with classes designed for children to exercise), your child will need to have clothes that allow for comfortable movement.


Kingston has many licensed and regulated daycare centres with qualified childcare workers who can supervise your children. Childcare costs in Canada can be high.

  • International student and scholar families (those without permanent resident status) are not eligible for most of childcare subsidies. Find information about childcare subsidies and determine if you are eligible
  • The federal Child Tax Benefit program supplements the income of families by providing monthly benefits to assist with the cost of raising children. If you are a visitor to Canada, you can still receive the Child Tax Benefit, as long as you have been in Canada for at least 18 months and have filed an income tax form to be eligible. Your child must also be under the age of 18
  • Get more information about childcare subsidies

The Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA) settlement advisor shares tips on finding childcare, enrolling children in school, and after-school programs in this Orientation Session for Students who are Parents.