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Old 01-25-2010, 09:16 AM
 
30 posts, read 135,001 times
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Hi all,

I just learnt that my kid may also have an option to go to a junior kindergarten program, which I understand is part of the public elementary school system. Other options are some Montessori preschools near downtown. We are thinking about living near the Byward market area for easy commuting.

Our questions are:

1) Does junior kindergarten quality vary significantly accross different public school districts in Ottawa? For example, how does the Carlton district compare with that in Westboro or Glebe area? If it does matter significantly, I may stay in an area further from the office so that the kid can stay in a significantly better school.

2) How do such programs compare with, say, the private preschools (Betty Hyde) or private Montessori programs (Glebe preschool or Riverside preschool)?

3) My kid (4 year old by Sept) at the moment does not speak French. We want him to be in an English-speaking environment, but also wants him to be exposed to some French. What are good French fun programs for children in Ottawa?

Please note that the kid may stay at home with Mom, so it is not that we cannot keep the kid at home. We just want him to have some quality time outside of home where he learns to play with others and improve his motor skills.

I have been very impressed by how helpful Canadians are, and look forward to hearing as much from you as possible.

Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,589 posts, read 33,514,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by still_looking View Post
Hi all,

I just learnt that my kid may also have an option to go to a junior kindergarten program, which I understand is part of the public elementary school system. Other options are some Montessori preschools near downtown. We are thinking about living near the Byward market area for easy commuting.

Our questions are:

1) Does junior kindergarten quality vary significantly accross different public school districts in Ottawa? For example, how does the Carlton district compare with that in Westboro or Glebe area? If it does matter significantly, I may stay in an area further from the office so that the kid can stay in a significantly better school.
The quality of schools in Canada does not vary as much as in the States as schools are completely funded at the provincial level rather than municipally. The main influencing factor from school to school would be the socio-economic milieu (poorer neighbourhoods vs. richer ones).

So some schools are better than others in Ottawa. But it really a question of local environment rather than funding.

Note also the junior kindergarten has traditionally been half-days in Ontario, but recently it was announced that they would be gradually moving to full days.

Here is a list of schools going to full-day JK as of next September:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/earlylearning/EL_Schools.pdf
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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Thank you, Acajack.

Anyone has insights about public schools vs. private schools in Ottawa? I know Canadian public schools are better than private schools, but are they good enough to say actually private schools are not better? For example, would you send your kids to private schools if they were free?
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,589 posts, read 33,514,357 times
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I know this sounds elitist but the reality is that private schools are almost always "better" anywhere you go. If they weren't, why would people pay so much extra money to send their kids there?

In downtown Ottawa, there is a public high school called Lisgar that is considered as good as a private school. Since the student population around the school is quite low, it accepts transfers from other schools' zones, on a first come first served basis. Many parents camp out overnight in order to get spots for their kids at Lisgar.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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Thank you, Acajack.

Are there private elementary schools (with junior kindergarten programs) near the downtown area (as close to the Parliament area as possible) to go for and those to avoid?

I am thinking about living in the Byward Market area, or area along the canal in the centretown area, or the Glebe area where I can walk to work (for less than 15 minutes, though). Obviously, the closer the school the better. It seems all "better" (i.e. better grades? more individual attention??) public schools are in the Glebe area, since this is the wealthier area. Is this definitely true or there is some exception out there?

P.S. In my experience, your observation regarding private schools is generally true, though my concern is that with private schools sometimes you may end up with kids who are too tricky to fit in public schools and require individual attention for that reason. Not sure if this may be true in Canada, though. Just want to be cautious particularly when you pay money for it.

Last edited by still_looking; 01-26-2010 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,589 posts, read 33,514,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by still_looking View Post
Thank you, Acajack.

Are there private elementary schools (with junior kindergarten programs) near the downtown area (as close to the Parliament area as possible) to go for and those to avoid?

I am thinking about living in the Byward Market area, or area along the canal in the centretown area, or the Glebe area where I can walk to work (for less than 15 minutes, though). Obviously, the closer the school the better. It seems all "better" (i.e. better grades? more individual attention??) public schools are in the Glebe area, since this is the wealthier area. Is this definitely true or there is some exception out there?

P.S. In my experience, your observation regarding private schools is generally true, though my concern is that with private schools sometimes you may end up with kids who are too tricky to fit in public schools and require individual attention for that reason. Not sure if this may be true in Canada, though. Just want to be cautious particularly when you pay money for it.
Don't know much about private schools in Ottawa except that they are in the $10,000 to $25,000 range (Canadian) per year.

Here is my totally unscientific assessment of downtown Ottawa neighbourhoods:

Glebe - probably the wealthiest area; lots of families for a downtown area; many single-family homes for the inner city; very expensive by Ottawa standards; relatively quiet at night

Byward Market - hip, nightlife area that can be quite noisy at night; families are few and far-between; few single-family homes; expensive condos for the most part with some single houses converted into apts

Lower Town (North of the market towards the river) - gentrifying and becoming expensive; more families than in the market but still not that many; lots of row housing, much of it nicely renovated

Lower Town East (east of King Edward Ave and north of Rideau) - lower income area with some nicer pockets; quite a bit of coop and social housing; quite a few families, mostly recent immigrants and also some low-income Canadians; gentrification hasn't gotten this far yet... but it will

Sandy Hill (north of Rideau St. and east of Rideau Centre) - part student ghetto (U of Ottawa is there), part nice inner city neighbourhood; varies from street to street and even building to building; part of it is a kind of ritzy Embassy Row; quite a few families here; would be my second choice for a family neighbourhood in downtown Ottawa after the Glebe; nice housing here is very expensive, student housing less so

Centretown (due north of the Glebe towards Parliament Hill) - few families, many single people that can be rich, middle class or poor; quality of housing quite variable from luxury condos to run-down rooming houses

Golden Triangle (in the immediate vicinity of Elgin St. on both sides) - very expensive, hence the name; generally pretty nice housing; few households with kids; can be noisy at night as Elgin is second-busiest nightlife zone in Ottawa
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:33 PM
 
30 posts, read 135,001 times
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Many many thanks, Acajack, for your time typing up your responses, which are full of helpful info.
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