Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School re-opening and what to do if you are new to Canada

Immigrating to a new country can be quite exciting and stressful at the same time. Families immigrating with children often have double the hurdles and red tape to get through, regarding immunizations, school registrations and getting the little ones used to a completely different culture.

Here are some tips for you:

1. Make sure you bring a completed immunization card with you for each child. This card is compulsory for registering your child in school.

2. To register in school, you need three things: PR Card, immunization card and proof of residence. (Whether rental or owned)

3. Proof of residence includes your rental agreement or ownership papers, a utility bill or anything from the federal government or anything sent from your bank with your name on it and sent by post to your address. You have to bring at least 2 of these things to the school office. If you have just moved to Canada, remember to get these things done quickly if you want your child to start school when it re-opens. (September  6th, 2011 for most schools in Canada)

4. Again, if you are brand new, go to one of the Welcome Centres first. They will give you all the information you need.  Their website is:

5.Most stores have their 'Back to School' sales from the month of August till the mid of September. Pick up what you need for the year as you won't get better prices later in the year. Talk to a neighbour or someone from the school or welcome centre on things you should buy if you get confused.

6. Once you rent or buy a home, check and see which school comes within the home boundary. Remember your child has to go to the school that falls within the specific school boundary lines. If you have a school in mind (looking at the ranking and the fraser report) then you have to find a home within the boundary lines of that school.

The Fraser Report is one of the ways of finding out the top schools in each area. Normally the top 100 is considered to be in the 'good' bracket. Remember, the better the school zone, normally the higher the rents and prices of homes.

7. Overall, children love the schooling system here where they learn through creativity and play. They are not burdened with too much homework or studying until High School and College. Get your children to join clubs, take part in the activities of your community centre, learn how to swim, ice skate etc and enjoy being in Canada!!

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