Vancouver BC Schools 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Vancouver Public Schools
The city of Vancouver, known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and thriving real estate market, holds immense appeal for many. For parents, finding a home close to schools is often a top priority. Whether you're a resident or considering moving to Vancouver, here's what to know about the educational opportunities and advantages offered by Vancouver's schools and school districts.
Public School Districts Serving Vancouver
The public school system in the city is Vancouver Public Schools. There are:
- 76 elementary schools (K-7)
- 18 secondary schools (8-12)
- 18 French Immersion schools
- 17 elementary annex schools
- 7 adult education centres
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in South Vancouver and John Norquay Elementary School in East Vancouver offer Mandarin Bilingual programs. Nootka Community Elementary School in the Renfrew Heights neighbourhood offers a Fine Arts Program of Choice for grades K through 7. In addition to the regular Vancouver Public Schools curriculum, students can enroll in visual arts, dance, music, and drama-intensive courses.
Lord Byng Secondary School is a good option for students interested in the arts. Students can apply to enroll in the Byng Arts Mini Program to continue in advanced fine arts programs.
All the public schools in Vancouver operate in school "catchment" zones. Students must live within a specific catchment zone/neighbourhood to attend elementary and secondary schools in that same zone. The easiest way to determine the catchment zone for a particular community is by using the district's School Locator tool, which is valuable for those moving to Vancouver if they want to enroll in a specific program or school.
Preschools & Daycares in Vancouver
While the city government provides financial support to various childcare programs, community centre associations or non-profits handle these programs' waitlists and operations. Parents can search for an early education or childcare program that suits their needs through the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre.
Vancouver has 21 community centres operating licensed preschools, daycare facilities, and school-age programs. The preschool and daycare programs usually charge a small fee and offer morning or afternoon sessions two to three days per week. They serve children between 30 months of age and school age. School-age care is available for students between the ages of 5 and 12, typically offered before and after school hours at community centres.
StrongStart BC programs are another preschool option available in Vancouver. There are 18 StrongStart locations throughout the city, offering educational play opportunities for parents and children to participate together. One parent can bring up to three children to classes, usually from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. These are free to attend but are not offered every weekday. Parents can enroll their children in two different StrongStart programs if they want to have them attend Monday through Friday in a staggered schedule between the two locations.
Vancouver Private Schools
Vancouver has dozens of private schools covering all elementary and secondary grade levels. There are too many to list here, so these selections give an idea of what is available for parents seeking private education for their children.
Crofton House School is a private, girls-only K through 12 school on a 10-acre campus. The campus grounds include gardens, hockey fields, wooded areas, pavilions, and other spaces for academics and extra-curriculars. Crofton House participates in many community service and exchange programs. Tuition is around $26,000 per year.
Vancouver College is the only private, all-boys Catholic school in the city. It provides education for elementary, middle, and secondary school students. Tuition ranges from about $8,000 annually for elementary school to $22,000 for secondary school.
The Vancouver Talmud Torah School is a private Jewish school offering co-ed education for grades K through 7. Chess, sports, and music are among the extracurricular activities here. This school provides a more affordable tuition rate than some other private schools in Vancouver, at $17,000 per year.
The Pear Tree School is a co-ed private school for grades K through 8. The school incorporates essential life skills into its curriculum, including cooking, public speaking, and personal finances. The school also provides unique sports opportunities like kayaking and climbing. Tuition ranges from $17,000 to $22,000 per year.
Colleges & Universities Near Vancouver
Vancouver has many colleges and universities for students to attend. Options include trade schools, community colleges, and public and private research universities.
The University of British Columbia is a public research school with a student body of around 45,000 undergraduates and 10,000 post-graduate students. The school offers more degree programs than any other higher learning institution in British Columbia, perfect for those looking to get started in Vancouver's economy in almost any field.
Simon Fraser University is another well-known public research university in the Vancouver area. The main campus is in the city of Burnaby, but the Vancouver campus has operated since the 1980s. It's best known for its student-business incubator program, the Coast Capital Venture Connection. There are faculties in eight separate disciplines at SFU.
Vancouver Community College (VCC) is a two-year vocational/technical school offering 91 professional certificate programs, 31 associate's degrees, and three bachelor's degrees. It has up to 13,000 students enrolled annually in its various programs. VCC has two Vancouver campuses, making it easy for students to access.
The Emily Carr University of Art + Design is Vancouver's main public arts university. Students can pursue bachelor's or master's degrees in various forms of visual arts, including photography, illustration, design, and film.
Educational Opportunities Abound in Vancouver
Vancouver's schools prioritize innovation and engagement across all grade levels. From starting young in preschool up through higher education, residents have schools readily available at all stages of their life. Students seeking educational opportunities will find Vancouver's schools and school districts provide a solid foundation for success.