This week marked the first month anniversary since we arrived in Canada. The 4 weeks have flown by so quickly and we are really starting to settle into our new life in Toronto.
One month in and so far, so good, especially considering the amount of “stuff” we have achieved in starting our new life from scratch. On reflection, I am surprised how few “shit fits” and “tantrums” have occurred and I’m not even talking about from the 8 year old.
This week has been a particularly big week. The Canadian, who hit the ground running looking for a job since we arrived, accepted a job offer and starts on Tuesday. The 8 year old has been enrolled in school and starts on Monday (I am counting the minutes for this one). We purchased a car and started searching for an apartment.
Things are starting to fall into place and it’s really starting to feel like home. Despite Canada and Australia having so many things in Common (like speaking English), so many things are also different. Despite the Canadian having grown up in Canada he moved away 15 years ago, he also has never lived in Toronto or Ontario. Some days we are like Dumb and Dumber blindly leading each other through the minefield of admin stuff setting up our new life.
With the 8 year old starting school I thought I would blog about some of the differences between school in Australia and Canada. This may also help anyone who has stumbled across the blog and is moving to Canada with children.
School in Canada Vs Australia
In Australia, kids wear school uniforms but in Canada they don’t. I love a school uniform, it makes it easier in the morning because it doesn’t involve a battle over what is being worn. It also means I have had to go out and do a massive clothes shop for the 8 year old because his weekend uniform in Australia of shorts and t-shirt year round is just not going to cut it in a below zero school yard.
It was very simple to get enrolled into school. In Ontario, you go online and put your home address into the school board website and it tells you the address of your local school. We just needed to fill in a few forms and provide proof of our address, residency status (the 8 year old has Canadian Citizenship due to dad being a citizen) and a copy of his immunization history.
The school year starts in September after the Northern Hemisphere summer break. The 8 year old was just finishing Grade 3 of Primary School when we left Australia. Due to his date of birth, he will be going into Grade 3 in Canada and will be in Grade 3 until the end of the school year in July next year. We think this will be great for the 8 year old because in Australia due to his birth date he was one of the youngest kids in his grade. Hopefully, it will also help with assimilating with the school work and the kids his age.
Primary School is called Elementary School in Canada.
Unlike Australia where you are given a huge list of school supply’s that you need to purchase yourself we got told that we don’t need to supply anything and it will all be supplied by the school. Basically, he just rocks up with his lunch and school bag.
The 8 year old will need a pair of runners that he keeps and wears at school and will change into when he arrives in the morning and out of his snow boots. He will need some waterproof snow pants and it will also be wise to keep a spare pair of pants of track pants in his bag. Apparently the kids play outside every break despite the weather and love playing soccer in the snow.
The 8 year is a little nervous about starting school but is also excited to have other kids to play with again. As we don’t know a single sole in Toronto he has not had any interaction with other kids in the month we have been here and it’s starting to show. Having come from a big school in Australia with 900 students in prep to Grade 6, this is a small school with less than 200 kids and small class sizes. He is excited about chasing the squirrels in the school yard. The novelty of squirrels does not seem to be disappearing.
It will be great to get him back into some kind of routine. No more power suits and back into a world of Vegemite and Cheese Sandwiches and homework. Well, that’s if they do homework. He keeps trying to tell me that they don’t do homework in Canada. When pressed on how he knows this……. “I read it”! Interesting when he has to be forced to read anything.
In Australia, at the 8-year old’s school, they had Japanese Studies once a week. In Canada as English and French are the official languages, French is taught in schools. Like Australia, you have the choice between Government (Free) Schools, Catholic Schools and Private Schools. Within the school types, you then have a choice between some schools being French Immersion, this is where the children learn to speak french and most of the lessons are conducted in French. It is designed for students who don’t speak french at home. As the 8 year old really struggles with his first language English and after almost 4 years of Japanese lessons can only say hello and his name in Japanese, we have opted for a Government school that teaches in English and has a daily french lesson.
The school day is a little longer starting at 8.45 until 3.30.
We also noticed one of these parked outside the school.
The begging has been relentless. Someone really wants to get the yellow bus to school. The only problem! We live a 2 block walk to school. I’m hoping that yellow bus gets used for school excursions.
With the 8 year old starting school and The Canadian starting a new job I will get started on my new job of finding us some friends.