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Questions to ask schools: expos or school visits

Find a list of schools  

 Nothing can replace a visit to a private school, in terms of learning about the school's environment, its attitudes and daily life there. School open house events are an excellent opportunity to tour the school and meet teachers, current and prospective students and parents. View a list of private school open houses.

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If a school is not having an open house, request a personal tour — schools will welcome your inquiry. Plan to visit the school during school hours and look at how students and teachers interact. Bring along a list of questions to ask so you don’t forget what’s important to you. Print a list of questions.

What you need to know at the start

checkbox SCHOOL’S PHILOSOPHY OR VISION: How does this translate in the day-to-day life of the students?
checkbox SCHOOL LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE: Is it accredited by the Ministry of Education? Is it governed by a board or an owner-operator? Is it non-profit or for-profit?
checkbox SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT: What is the “feel” of the school? Is it a welcoming place? Is it clean, well lit and secure? Is public access limited?
checkbox FACILITIES: Is there a gymnasium, library, playing field on-site or nearby, music room?
checkbox TUITION: What’s included and what’s extra? For example, uniforms, books, technology, extracurricular activities . . .
checkbox CURRICULUM: Does it follow, meet or exceed the provincial education guidelines? What happens if your child switches to the public system down the road?
checkbox CLASSROOMS: Is there a maximum class size? How do teachers interact with students?
checkbox TEACHERS’ QUALIFICATIONS: What kind of professional development are they offered? Are they professionals in their field or qualified teachers? Do you prefer one over the other?
checkbox AFTER GRADUATION: Where do students go for further schooling? In the case of a high school, what percentage of students goes on to university and do they get accepted to their first choice?
checkbox ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: What, if any, testing is done? How much emphasis is placed on the results? Is acceptance only granted in certain years?
checkbox STUDENT LIFE: Do students seem productive, engaged and happy? Can you picture your child in the setting?
checkbox PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT: Is there a parent council or certain expectations?

 On your visit, also be sure to:

  • Ask for an outline of the school's curriculum and to look at textbooks and other teaching materials.
  • Ask for the names and numbers of current parents or alumni, whom you can contact as references.
  • Try to speak with the principal or head of school and teachers. Don't limit yourself to just meeting the admissions officer.
  • Ask if your child can meet other students. Ask for a student to take your child on a tour of the school.
  • Ask to observe a class or other activities.
  • Ask what bursaries or other financial support may be available.

Private Education School Expos

School expos provide a wonderful opportunity to meet with a number of private schools in a relaxed environment. Attend the Our Kids Private Education School Expos and meet with more than 100 of Canada’s leading private and independent schools at these one-day events. Meet with education experts and consultants, and attend the information seminars on choosing a school and how to get in. Expos happening in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Halton-Peel. Please register today to get your admission vouchers.

Private School Expos
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