St. Edmund's School is among the oldest Catholic Schools in Vancouver, having opened in 1911. At that time, the dedicated Sisters of the Child Jesus, along with lay teachers and support staff, ran the school. Originally, the school had 57 students from grades one to twelve. Today, we have almost 200 students from Kindergarten to grade seven. Although the school has celebrated its centennial, the mission of St. Edmund's has changed very little – we still focus on the importance of building a faith community. As a Catholic school we share in the mission of the Church and believe that Christ's teaching must be "lived" as well as "taught".
Our patron saint – Edmund – was a model of devotion and academic achievement. While he was Archbishop of Canterbury he firmly defended the rights of Church and State against corruption. He was canonized in 1247 only 7 years after his death. At our own St. Edmund’s in North Vancouver we are establishing our own proud tradition of Catholic Education.
St Edmund's Elementary teaches the same curriculum used across all Ministry accredited elementary schools in British Columbia. We teach all core subjects (Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, etc.) and exceed the time requirements mandated by the Ministry of Education. We take pride in the caliber of our instructional program and the academic achievements of our students. We continually re-evaluate our instructional program based on our own internal data, the Foundation Skills Assessments, and feedback from our local high school.
Formal progress reports are given at the end of each term - fall, winter and spring. The two main sections to these reports are: 1) A checklist of curricular outcomes, and 2) Anecdotal comments. Intermediate students also receive Letter Grades for most subjects. Twice a year (fall and winter), student-led conferences are scheduled. On conference days, parents come to the school with their child, who will lead them on a ‘tour’ of their work for the term
The most important distinction between other schools in BC and St. Edmund’s Elementary is our religious focus. We are a faith community and teach from a Catholic perspective. Some obvious components of our religious focus include daily religion class, prayer services, and monthly Masses. However, we want our Catholic character to be most obvious from how the children interact, how the staff teach students right from wrong, and how we partner with parents. We believe all students can benefit from a Catholic Education, whether they were raised Catholic or not.
At St. Edmund’s Elementary, the value of the ‘hidden curriculum’ is given a large amount of attention. We believe it is these extra opportunities that allow students to fully develop into the people and leaders we know they can be. These additional programs include opportunities in the area of sports, the arts, and leadership. We want to provide our students with programs that allow them to develop their skills as well as pursue their area of interest. Being able to achieve and cooperate in an area other than academics brings a wonderful energy to a school and its students.
As stated in the mission statement of our system, “The Catholic School, as a faith community, is committed to excellence in Catholicity and in all areas that promote the development of the whole child to his or her full potential.
While skill development and effort are emphasized in our sports teams, it is our policy that any student who attends regular practices will be able to participate regardless of skill level. The only exception to this policy is the track & field meet at the end of the school year where students must meet CISVA standards in order to compete. We want to encourage all children to develop a love for fitness. The athletic program at St. Edmund’s Elementary includes: Girls volleyball, Boys & girls soccer, Boys & girls basketball, Boys & girls track & field, Boys floor hockey
Our leadership program has been designed to support our primary students and gradually give more responsibilities to our intermediate students. Our school ‘buddy grade’ program pairs Kindergarten with Grade 4, Grade 1 with Grade 5, etc. Older buddies are expected to model good behavior in assemblies and Masses, as well as look out for their younger buddies on the playground. Duties are added each intermediate year in the form of jobs around the school (office monitors, recycling, etc.). By Grade 6 & 7, students are organizing school-wide events targeted at the younger students.
The Arts Program at St. Edmund’s includes choir, art club, and speech arts. The choir for grades 3-7 is over two sessions – Christmas Choir and Spring Choir. St. Edmund’s also offers an after school Art Club. The work that the art club members produce, along with the work from the curricular art classes, is displayed annually at the end of May. The Speech Arts club begins in December for the primary students, with a performance at the Speech Arts Festival at the end of January. The season for the intermediate students continues into the Spring.