5 things to know about Kitchener's 1st Muslim school

A new private school opening in Kitchener will provide Islamic-based teachings as well as the provincial curriculum.
Rania Lawendy is the academic advisor for a new Islamic-based private school opening in Kitchener. (Andrea Bellemare/CBC)

A new private elementary school set to open in the fall in Kitchener will offer Islamic teachings alongside the provincial curriculum, a first for the city.

The Maple Grove School will receive funding from the Muslim Association of Canada will be located in the former St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School on Courtland Avenue. 

Rania Lawendy, the school's academic advisor, spoke with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Here are five things to know about the new school. 

1. School will follow provincial curriculum

School will be fully accredited by the Ministry of Education. "But where it'll be a little bit different is that it's faith-based,' said Lawendy. 

In addition to the provincial curriculum, students will learn Arabic. There will classes focusing on the Qur'an and Islamic studies and there will be activities that connect it with Islamic-based schools. 

2. There's a demand for Islamic-based schooling

"We had ... about 130 families walk through the door, so about 400 people at our open house," said Lawendy.

"A lot of people weren't able to make it for that day. So right on the spot, we weren't even going to do registration, and right on the spot we got 40 kids ... registering for the school."

According to the National Household Survey, there are 18,940 Muslims in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge census metorpolitan area.

3. Tuition

Tuition for students from kindergarten to Grade 8 will be about $4,000 a year. 

4. Students will do charity work 

"Kids will get a lot of hands-on, concrete learning, they'll take part in things within the school but also the Heart and Stroke Foundation, certain different charity walks, planting trees, really bettering the society around them," said Lawendy.

"We want children to understand...for them to be globally-minded and really be producers in this society."

5. The school will accept students who aren't Muslim

​"The school is open to everyone, it's not just for Muslims," said Lawendy.

"I have some Muslims friends who have gone to Catholic schools. You see that people are attracted to these type of schools because of the moral values that are there, because of the academics that are there, so we're hoping that we'll see the same thing.

"Our pre-school and child care centre and our [junior kindergarten] to grade 8 is open to anyone who would like to join."