The WCDSB aims to provide all English Language Learners opportunities to successfully develop their skills in English, while learning the curriculum in all grades. Due to the variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds that students have, schools need to provide language programs to ensure that all students develop the level of proficiency in English required for success at school and in post-secondary pathways.
For their first few years in Ontario schools, many English language learners (ELLs) take one of two distinct language-support programs, where they receive direct support from teachers who specialize in meeting their language learning needs:
English As a Second Language (ESL) programs provide support for students born in Canada or newcomers whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.
English Literacy Development (ELD) programs are for newcomer students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools. Students in these programs are generally from countries in which their access to education has been limited, or where they may have had limited opportunities to develop language and literacy skills in any language. They arrive in Ontario schools with significant gaps in their education.