Preschool, primary and secondary education

Quebec City is home to more than 130 public primary and secondary institutions, together with more than 20 private primary and secondary institutions. Almost every neighbourhood has at least one school.

Studying in French

Under Bill 101, which was adopted in 1977, French is the official and common language of Quebec. Consequently, the province takes measures to ensure that primary and secondary education is offered in French to Quebec residents as well as to newcomers. Various exceptions apply, under which some individuals may be authorized to receive instruction in English. You can find out more about the relevant terms and conditions by consulting the Charter of the French Language.

Preschool education

Preschool education includes pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Kindergarten prepares five-year-olds for primary school. The program runs for one year and provides children with supervision aimed at fostering their personal development. By attending kindergarten, your child benefit from a stimulating learning environment while acquiring skills that will facilitate his or her academic success. Although kindergarten is not compulsory, the vast majority of eligible children are enrolled. Pre-kindergarten, also known as pre-K or preschool, is offered to certain four-year-olds who have disabilities or who come from underprivileged families.

Primary education

Children usually begin primary education at age six. Focusing on general fundamentals, primary education is designed to foster a child’s overall development. It also aims to gradually develop students’ autonomy and prepare them for secondary school. After six years of primary studies, students undertake a five-year secondary program (general studies track); secondary studies may vary in duration if students are enrolled in vocational training

Secondary education

The five-year secondary program is divided into two "cycles". Students are usually 12 years old when they begin their secondary studies (equivalent to Grade 7 in other parts of Canada). The first cycle, which runs for three years, enables students to consolidate their primary education and to begin focusing on their future profession. Beginning in the third year of secondary studies (equivalent to Grade 9), the general program is enriched with elective courses, in which students can explore various disciplines (arts and sciences, etc.). Upon completion of the five-year program (equivalent to completing Grade 11), students are awarded a secondary studies diploma (diplôme d’études secondaires/DES), which provides access to college-level studies, which are a prerequisite for university-level studies.