Canmore Schools: A Parent’s Guide To Education In Canmore

By Jill

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Are you a parent looking to move to Canmore? If so, the quality of Canmore schools will be one of your primary concerns, and you will have many questions about the schooling options within the community.

We found ourselves in this situation as we planned our move from the UK to Canmore almost two decades ago. We have experience with Canmore schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and we hope that we can answer your questions and provide some clarity.

An Introduction To Canmore Schools

The three mainstream Canmore Alberta schools are Elizabeth Rummel School (Elementary), Lawrence Grassi Middle School and Canmore Collegiate High School. We had great experiences at all three of these schools.

They all have strong academic programs but also offer a good range of extracurricular activities, focusing on outdoor activities. Dual-track French immersion programs are available at all three schools.

In addition to the three Canmore schools above, the town has several specialist schools. Alpenglow School offers an alternative learning style with a holistic approach to education. There are also two Catholic schools, Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy and École Notre-Dame des Monts. The latter is Canmore’s only Francophone school.

Elizabeth Rummel School Canmore

  • Grades Taught: Kindergarten to Grade 3
  • Fees: The school is publicly funded, but fees are charged for certain activities. Details can be found on the school website.

Elizabeth Rummel School (also known as ERS) is the mainstream Canmore elementary school on the Bow Valley’s east (sunny!) side. It is convenient for families living in the Cougar Creek and Eagle Terrace neighbourhoods. It was somewhat less convenient for us living on the valley floor, but the availability of school buses saved us from making daily trips to drive our son to school.

The school has excellent facilities and a good range of programs, including an option for French Immersion. The school is one of four Canmore schools overseen by the Canadian Rockies Public Schools board.

Named after Elizabeth von Rummel, a recipient of the Order of Canada, the school embodies her spirit of mountain exploration and environmental stewardship. The school’s vision includes literacy, numeracy, social skills, and lifelong learning. It strongly emphasizes values like respect, cooperation, and accountability. The ultimate goal is to produce academically proficient but also respectful, cooperative, and confident students.

Lawrence Grassi Middle School Canmore

Lawrence grassi middle school at sunrise in downtown one of the canmore schools
Lawrence Grassi Middle School
  • GradesTaught: Grades 4 to 8
  • Fees: The school is publicly funded, but fees are charged for certain activities. Details can be found on the school website.

Students of Elizabeth Rummel School usually graduate to Lawrence Grassi Middle School (also known as LGMS), which is situated in the heart of the town, close to downtown Canmore. The school has a large playground and extensive sports fields, which include a small theatre stage.

This area is used for town events such as the annual Canmore Folk Festival and theatre productions. It is one of our favourite venues as we can watch shows outdoors while enjoying the views of the mountains.

Students enrolled in the French Immersion program at Elizabeth Rummel School can continue at Lawrence Grassi. Like most Canmore schools, it has a wide range of academic programs and a strong outdoor education program in keeping with a mountain community. LGMS is named after Lawrence Grassi, a trailblazer in the Bow Valley, and the school embodies its’ motto, “Reach for the Peaks,” in every aspect.

Canmore Collegiate High School

Canmore collegiate high school with mountains in the background one of the canmore schools
Canmore Collegiate High School – The Largest Of The Canmore Schools
  • Grades Taught: Grades 9 to 12
  • Fees: The school is publicly funded, but fees are charged for certain activities. Details can be found on the school website.

Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS) is the largest of Canmore’s schools, serving approximately 600 students in grades 9 through 12. Located close to the recreation centre, it was ideal for our kids with less than a fifteen-minute walk. However, there are school buses for those who live further away.

The school offers various programs, including academics, second languages, immersion, fine arts, career and technology, physical education, outdoor education, work experience, knowledge and employability, outreach, and special needs programs.

The school aims to provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for academic and life success. Students planning to transition to post-secondary education can take Advanced Placement (or AP) courses. AP courses allow high school students to experience university-level learning to prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in higher education.

Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy Canmore

  • Grades Taught: Kindergarten to Grade 12
  • Fees: The school is publicly funded, but fees are charged for certain activities. Details can be found on the school website.

Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy is one of two Canmore schools offering a specialist Catholic education. Established in September 2001, the school provides a faith-filled environment where academics are a priority. The school is a little out of the main town in the Three Sisters area of Canmore, but school buses are available for students living in other areas.

The academy is part of Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools, known for their focus on academic excellence, faith, and stewardship. CTR has launched a new Three-Year Faith Plan, “Faith Seeking Understanding,” inspired by St. Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion. This plan aims to integrate faith into various subject areas and help families grow in their understanding of Catholic teachings.

With a growing student population, Our Lady of the Snows offers many academic courses and extracurricular opportunities. Whether you’re interested in academics, faith-based learning, or extracurricular activities, this school provides a comprehensive educational experience.

École Notre-Dame des Monts Canmore

  • Grades Taught: Kindergarten to Grade 12
  • Fees: The school is publicly funded, but fees are charged for certain activities. Details can be found on the school website.

École Notre-Dame des Monts also offers a Catholic education, but it is unique in Canmore because it is the only Francophone school in the town. The school values Francophone culture as a way of expressing oneself and being part of a larger community. Students can participate in local, provincial, and national activities promoting Francophone culture and pride.

Enrollment eligibility is based on Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canadian citizens whose first language is French or who have received primary school instruction in French have the right to enroll their children in a FrancoSud school. The school also admits exceptional cases, such as children of Francophone parents or grandparents who wish to reintegrate or maintain the French language and culture.

The school’s working language is French, and all meetings, written communications, and reports are in French. However, individual meetings concerning a student can be held in either French or English.

Alpenglow School Canmore

  • Grades Taught: Kindergarten to Grade 6
  • Fees: Alpenglow is a non-profit but does charge school fees. The current cost can be found on the school website.

Alpenglow School in Canmore, Alberta, offers a unique educational experience that blends Waldorf teaching methods with nature immersion. Established in April 2012 by the Alpenglow Community Education Society (ACES), the school aims to nurture children’s compassion, imagination, and creativity.

The curriculum matches the natural stages of human development and integrates arts, academics, and nature to build a strong foundation for future learning. The school’s philosophy centers around four pillars: Academic Excellence, Artistic Expression, Community Mindedness, and Nature-Centrism.

Alpenglow School provides an alternative to traditional public schooling, focusing less on exams and more on daily class observations and conversations for student assessment.

The school has grown to include grades up to Grade 6 and offers a range of subjects, including French and music, alongside the Alberta curriculum. Outdoor activities and community involvement are integral parts of the educational experience, making it a holistic approach to learning.

Alpenglow School is the only one of the Canmore schools that charges a tuition fee.

Canmore Preschool Society

  • Age Covered: 3- to 5-year-olds
  • Funding: Fees apply

Canmore Preschool is a non-profit, parent-directed educational program for 3- to 5-year-olds in Canmore. The school operates Pre-Kindergarten and 3-year-old Preschool programs in the Roundhouse facility, which it shares with Canmore Community Daycare. The school aims to foster a lifetime love of learning and community involvement in children.

The preschool offers a balanced curriculum that includes child- and teacher-directed activities. Classroom learning centers allow for self-directed play, while Circle Time provides a more structured learning environment.

Canmore Preschool Society emphasizes physical literacy, offering daily time in a “mini-gym” and outdoor play areas. Community involvement is encouraged through visits from local professionals like wildlife conservation officers, nurses, and firefighters.

The school also has a unique Empathy Program, where a family with a newborn visits the classrooms monthly, allowing students to observe the baby’s growth and development. This helps in teaching empathy and understanding feelings. The school is financially self-sufficient and is licensed through Alberta Family and Social Services.

Transportation, Getting To School In Canmore

Canmore rockies public schools bright yellow bus for one of the canmore schools
Canmore Schools Bus Service

Except for the preschool, all Canmore schools offer bus transportation for students who live an eligible distance from the school.

Canmore Rockies Public Schools provides an extensive transportation network to Elizabeth Rummel School, Lawrence Grassi  Middle School, Canmore Collegiate High School and Alpenglow School.

The two Catholic Schools also provide transportation for their students.

Final Thoughts On Canmore Schools

Overall, the Canmore schools offer a well-rounded quality education with various options. Canmore is a great place to be if you want your child to learn in French, with one Francophone school and French immersion offered from elementary through to high school levels.

Our Lady of the Snows and the École Notre-Dame des Monts offer a Catholic education, and Alpenglow School provides an alternative approach to learning for kindergarteners to grade 6. In addition, Canmore Collegiate High School has Advanced Placement courses for students looking towards post-secondary education.

About Us

We’re Kevin and Jill, a couple who traded the UK for the serene beauty of Canmore almost two decades ago. We love exploring the mountains, eating and drinking out and can offer a family-friendly perspective. We hope to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with locals and visitors alike.

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