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Education Options for Your Child

In the province of British Columbia, all kids between the ages of 6 and 16 (approximately grades 1 through 10) must attend school in some form. And all schooling must follow the curriculum set out by the BC government. Everyone knows about the traditional public-school method, and this is the route most kids take. But it’s always beneficial to learn about all your education options.

Public School

This is the traditional type of schooling that most kids in the province attend. Public school is available from kindergarten right through to grade 12 and is free for any child to attend as it is government funded. Most neighbourhoods will have at least one public school for all levels of schooling.

Private School

There are several different types of private schools available throughout the province, all with different focuses. Private schools typically receive little to no government funding, so parents must pay for their children to attend. Just a few of the many private school options are religious schools, Montessori Schools, boarding schools, and single-gender schools. A lot of parents feel these types of school fit with their values more than other types of schooling. Some private schools are elementary only, high school only, or offer all grades.

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Distance Education

Distance Education is offered through most school districts for little to no cost as it is typically part of the public school system. It is like homeschooling as students are given the curriculum, must go through the materials and learn it themselves. However, they will receive some online education from teachers and typically turn to online resources and educators to assess their work and ask questions. Support is available via online chats or email. Exams are typically completed in a central location or online via a supervisor. Distance education is offered for all levels of schooling. But it tends to be more popular with the middle or higher grades.


Teaching your kids yourself, or “homeschooling” is an option that has become a lot more popular in the last decade or so. Homeschooling means that you are teaching your children at home, using your own methods and materials, as long as the BC curriculum is followed. Many parents join up and teach all their children together, each handling different subjects. However, other parents prefer one-on-one styles with their own children. You will now find homeschool meetup groups, swim lessons and other options in most neighbourhoods as this type of schooling grows in popularity. Homeschoolers typically must register with their local public school and can gain access to curriculum and possible funding to purchase teaching materials.

Nature and Forest-Based Education Options

This is another one of the education options that has become a lot more popular in the last few years. Many cities now offer at least one forest or nature school option for their young people to learn. The curriculum is taught all or at least mostly outdoors, using a hands-on nature-based approach. Nature schools receive little to no government funding, so the parents must pay for this type of schooling. However many are co-op based and have lower fees if the parents are involved in the teaching process. The goal of most nature and forest schools is to give students time to connect with nature, explore their creativity and create meaningful connections with their communities. Nature-based preschools seem to be the most popular in most cities. However, you’ll find some schools that are elementary-based, and even ones that offer all levels of schooling.

Specialty Education Options

Some children with physical and/or learning limitations may benefit from specialty education options offered in the community. Depending on the school district, some of these schools may be offered as a public-school option. However, many of these schools will rely on the parents to pay for all or some of their child’s education. Specialty education schools are usually offered for all levels of schooling, but depending on the learner’s needs, school may not be offered full time.

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Childcare and Preschool

Childcare and PreSchools

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