In Nova Scotia, most children start school at the age of five when they begin Grade Primary (Grade Primary is another name for Kindergarten). Children may begin their learning journey even sooner, at age four, if parents/guardians register them for the optional Pre-Primary program.

Registration for Pre-Primary and Grade Primary begins in February for September enrolment. Children must be four years old (for Pre-Primary) and five years old (for Grade Primary) on or before December 31 of the calendar year in which they are being enrolled. After Grade Primary, students move on to Grade 1.

What can you expect?

Each child's day will be unique, depending on the grade level they are in. Students will be assigned to one main classroom teacher for the school year but may have a different teacher for specialized classes like Physical Education and Music. Children in elementary school will have scheduled breaks throughout the day (recess) and lunch. A full school day is approximately six hours.

Teachers and school staff are prepared to support students with many different learning needs through an inclusive approach. Parents/guardians and teachers are encouraged to maintain ongoing communication with one another throughout the school year, to ensure student well-being, progress and success are achieved.   

See for yourself! Click here to watch elementary school students practice their literacy skills inside the classroom.

Is your child starting elementary school for the first time or transferring schools within HRCE? Did your family just move to the Halifax region? Families may find the resources below helpful.

  • For families moving to HalifaxClick here for resources and support.
  • Student Registration: Visit our Student Registration page for instructions on how to enroll your child in an HRCE school.
  • School Finder: Click here to find your child's home school.
  • Student Transportation: Click here to see if your child is eligible for busing to and from school.
  • School Calendar: Click here to view the current school calendar.
  • Before & After School Care: Click here for more information about EXCEL, the before and after school program operated by HRCE. The provincial Before and After Program (BAP) is also an option for families requiring care. Interested families can register for BAP by contacting the service provider at their child's school.
  • French Options: There are French first language schools in Nova Scotia (CSAP). HRCE schools offer French second language programs. Click here for more information about French programming offered in HRCE schools.
  • Parent Navigators: The role of the Parent Navigator is to help parents/guardians of HRCE students find and access services available in education, justice, health, community services and more. Click here for their contact information.
  • ​International Students: Click here if there is interest in becoming an international student.

Additional resources