In deciding where you want to do your practicum, it is important to know what practicums can look like at different grade levels.
It’s difficult to firmly state when elementary school (or any other phase of grade school) begins and ends in Canada, since every province has its own cutoff dates, often set by local school boards. In the majority of cases, however, the “elementary” years usually span from Kindergarten to around sixth or seventh grade.
Kindergarten classes are often considered little more than glorified babysitting and exist mostly to help socialize very young children into a classroom setting, with simple activities such as counting, singing, colouring, and games. Some parents will even put their kids into even simpler preschool classes when they’re still toddlers, though these are not mandatory.
As children grow older and more mature, the early numbered grades gradually educate students on basic concepts in the world of math, science, history, geography, and civics, but with a strong focus on “hands-on” learning and creative projects. In most elementary classes, all subjects are taught by a single, all-purpose teacher, with students usually progressing to a different teacher after completing a grade or two.
In many provinces, middle school (or junior high) is a fairly new invention, designed to help facilitate the transition from the easygoing climate of elementary school to the more structured and demanding world of high school. Kids usually attend middle schools in their early teen years — often from around age 13 to 15 — though again, it varies a lot from province to province.
Middle school introduces the concept of different subjects being taught by different teachers, with students moving from classroom to classroom after the conclusion of each lesson. The subject matter remains mostly the same as in elementary school, but now with considerably more detail and stricter standards of grading. The focus begins to shift from creative projects and group activities to written assignments and test-driven learning.