English as a Second Language (ESL)

///English as a Second Language (ESL)
English as a Second Language (ESL)2018-09-11T12:22:45+00:00

WHAT’S NEW?

ESL classes have STARTED!

WELCOME BACK!!

New Students: Register Monday to Friday mornings. Visit YMCA Language Assessment Centre first.

St.Louis-ESL-Upper

Just Arrived? Been here a long time? Professionally Trained? Visiting?

Learn, improve, perfect your English to:

  • Open up work and professional opportunities
  • Broaden education choices
  • Strengthen community connections

English Language classes or English as a Second Language (ESL) is an affordable English language training program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.  St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres is the largest English language class provider in Waterloo Region & surrounding area open to newcomers, visitors and citizens who have been here both a short time or a long time.  All students are 18 years of age and older and English is not their first language.

BENEFITS of taking English classes at St. Louis…. Better English! Better Life!

Students quickly develop strong English language communication skills and learn everything they need to know to live, work and learn in Canada. All ESL and LINC English Language classes teach the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing using Portfolio Based Language Assessment.

To qualify to attend ESL classes at St. Louis, you must be

  • an adult age 18 years and older
  • Convention Refugee or
  • Permanent Resident or
  • Landed Immigrant or
  • CANADIAN CITIZEN who was a newcomer to Canada at some point in your life and English is not your first language
  • Visitor to Canada (additional fees apply)
  • at ANY Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level

Once enrolled in any ESL class (morning, afternoon, evening or Saturday), students are expected to attend classes regularly.

How do I know my English is good?

English Language Assessments are done at the YMCA.  Please call 519-579-9622 to make an appointment.  They will find an English Language class at the language level you are at.


If you are a VISITOR TO CANADA, please visit any St. Louis Campus during office hours to arrange a language assessment and discuss terms of enrollment.

  • Visitor Assessment Fee: $60
  • Additional materials and instructional fees apply
  • Please bring passport or Visa and payment 

Canadian Language Benchmarks – What do they mean?

The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) is used in Canada to teach and test language learning for adults.  It is important to understand the CLB if planning to go to English class, train, look for work or study at a College or University.  The benchmarks describe tasks that people can do in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Literacy and Level 1: Welcome to English School! We will help you start to learn English.

Level 2 and 3: You will develop and have an adequate knowledge of simple spoken and written communication to function in the community like shopping, going to the doctor and speaking to your children’s teacher.

Level 4: You know enough English, now, that you could begin to apply for Canadian Citizenship.  Take Citizenship preparation classes. Or you can consider taking a specialized English Language class. Call 519-745-1201 for details.

Level 5  and 6: Your English should be good enough to get and keep a job and gain some Canadian work experience.  Don’t stop learning English. Continue in your ESL classes and keep moving forward to the next CLB level. Or take a different ESL class that will help you improve your soft skills, pronunciation, computer or customer service skills. Once you have completed level 6, you may continue to improve your reading, writing skills or you can apply to take the St. Louis Culinary Arts Training, or Hairstylist and Barber Training Keep going to level 7 to prepare for the IELTS tests!

Level 7+: At this level you can begin to take other classes at St. Louis, including working toward earning Secondary School Credits, or developing employment skills with Personal Support Worker Training.

English Language Classes through the ESL program offer the following classes:

  • Literacy
  • CLB 1 to CLB 7+
  • Listening and Speaking
  • Reading and Writing
  • Pronunciation
  • Computer classes
  • ESL for Seniors
  • IELTS  Preparation

Open to all students!  Visitors welcome!

What will I learn?

Listening: You will be able to understand spoken English in a variety of situations including going to the doctor, shopping or visiting your children’s school.

Speaking: You will develop your English language vocabulary and be able to speak to others in increasingly complex ways and in a variety of situations including job interviews, speaking with your doctor to name a few.

Reading: You will be able to understand written texts like application forms, instructions, personal and professional emails and bank statements or more advanced academic reading and workplace relevant examples

Writing: You will be able to write in English to help you complete job applications, fill out forms and prepare documents, craft business emails, write a letter to your children’s teacher as well as prepare for academic writing, essays and reports.

What is Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA)?

Portfolio Based Language Assessment is a standard in-class assessment process that instructors use in all St. Louis ESL and LINC classes in Canada as a way to measure your language abilities. Each student receives a Language Companion binder to collect and show what they can do in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. Task-based learning will help you achieve this. Your portfolio is reviewed by your instructor and used to help inform your progress results.

ESL is offered at multiple locations at various times through St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres.
Please find below the class dates, times and locations that these programs are offered.

Class Start and End Times by Location: 

September 10, 2018 – June 21, 2019


M o r n i n g  C l a s s e s  


Mon to Thurs, 8:45am – 11:45am / Friday, 10:00am – 11:45am
St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, Cambridge

Mon to Thurs, 8:45am – 11:45am / Friday, 10:00am – 11:45am
St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus
St. Louis – St. Francis Campus
St. Louis – Emmanuel Campus

St. Louis ESL class –  Forest Hill United Church (around the corner from St. Francis Campus)

Saturday, 9:00am – 12:oopm
St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus


A f t e r n o o n  C l a s s e s   


Mon to Thurs,  12:30pm – 3:00pm / Friday, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus
St. Louis – St. Francis Campus
St. Louis – Emmanuel Campus


E v e n i n g   C l a s s e s   


Mon, Tues, Wed, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus

Mon and Wed, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, Cambridge

One-time annual Materials Fee: $10

Are you a Visitor to Canada?

Visitors Fees:

  • Assessment: $60
  • Materials Fee: $40
  • Hourly Rate:  $7 (paid for the whole month in advance)

Attention Visitors wanting to take ESL classes: Please call an ESL office 519-745-1201 to book a language assessment. Please bring passport or VISA.

While ESL students attend class, your pre-school age child may be purchase a spot in our licensed child care centre.  While you are learning English, your child will:

  • learn through play
  • interact with other children
  • develop skills and language appropriate for their ages

Warm and caring staff strive to provide fun and educational activities to support children’s settlement in Canada. The best possible atmosphere for children’s development and learning is created by establishing relationships between staff and families built on mutual respect. While ESL adult parents are learning or improving their English language skills, their pre-school children are as well… Everyone is learning English and growing in so many ways!

To register, you may purchase (or apply for Child Care Subsidy )for child care in our licensed child care; Spots for Tots<– click here for details.

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre – 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge).  They will book an appointment and tell you what documents to bring. (Visitors to Canada, please contact the YMCA Language Assessment first. If you are NOT eligible for a free assessment with them, bring your visa and permit documentation, plus $60, to an ESL office to book an assessment)

Step 2: Have your English language skills assessed for FREE. They will tell you what your CLB benchmark numbers are and find an English class that’s right for you.

Step 3: Register at the location suggested by the YMCA.  If a St. Louis location is suggested, register at the location listed on the assessment paper print-out.

Registration Dates/Locations

Once you have completed your Language Assessment and have been assigned an ESL class level and location, please register in- person at that St. Louis location, right away.

Bring your

  • Personal documents as identification
  • Completed language assessment from the YMCA. If you had a language assessment in the last year, while living in a different community in Ontario, please bring that completed language assessment. If you have not had an initial assessment or have moved from another province, please call the YMCA to make an appointment first at 519-579-9622.

ESL Classes are offered from Sept. 10, 2018 to June 21, 2019

ESL Summer School: July 2 – Aug. 9, 2019

ESL OFFICE Hours to REGISTER (by location):


St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus77 Young Street, Kitchener: Aug. 28, 2018 – June 20, 2019

  • Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 12:30pm
  • Monday and Wednesday, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

St. Louis – St. Francis Campus, 154 Gatewood Road, Kitchener: Aug. 28, 2018 – June 20, 2019

  • Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 12:30pm

St. Louis – Emmanuel Campus, 22 Bridgeport Road West, Waterloo

Come to class any week-day, bring assessment, then go to ESL office at Emmanuel to register.

  • ESL Registration office open Tuesday and Friday ONLY: 11:30am-12:45pm; Sept. 4, 2018 – June 18, 2019

St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, 50 Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge

Come to class to register, bring assessment: Sept. 10, 2018 – June 20, 2019


VISITOR to Canada?

**Visitors need an assessment before coming to class, so please contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first. The YMCA will discuss with you whether you are eligible for a free language assessment. If you are not eligible for an assessment with them, bring your visa and permit documentation, plus $60, to a St. Louis ESL office to book an assessment. Visitor Assessment Fee = $60. Additional materials and instructional fees apply. Please bring passport or Visa and payment during office hours and a registrar will review the terms of your enrollment.

If you are a Visitor to Canada, the assessment process and fees are a bit different for you.

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first– 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge).  They will determine if you are eligible for a free language assessment.

Step 2: If you are not eligible for an assessment with the YMCA, contact a St. Louis ESL office Mon – Fri 8:30am-12:30pm to book an assessment appointment.

Step 3:  Bring all VISA and Passport information plus $60 assessment fee. Have your language assessed at St. Louis. You will learn what your CLB benchmark numbers are and we will find an English class that’s right for you.

Step 4: Register for ESL class. Pay Materials Fee: $40 + Hourly Rate:  $7 per hour (paid for the whole month in advance)

Step 5: Attend classes

At minimum, English Language instructors at St. Louis have their Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Ontario qualifications and many have worked in the field and at St. Louis for 10 years plus. Our ESL teachers use everyday tasks and real-world examples to help refugees, permanent residents, landed immigrants… (and citizens too) develop their English, while settling, integrating and discovering Canadian culture.

For more information:

Call: 519-745-1201

Email: stlouis@wcdsb.ca

To Register, visit:  ANY St. Louis Campus or follow the instructions mentioned earlier.  Registration is ongoing.

How to Register?

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre – 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge).  They will book an appointment and tell you what documents to bring.(Visitors to Canada, please contact the YMCA Language Assessment.)

Step 2: Have your English language skills assessed for FREE. (If you are not eligible for an assessment with the YMCA and you are a visitor to Canada, bring your visa and permit documentation, plus $60, to a St. Louis ESL office to book an assessment.) You will learn what your CLB benchmark numbers are and the right English class will be found for you.

Step 3: Register at the location suggested by the YMCA.  If a St. Louis location is suggested, register at the location listed on the assessment paper print-out.

Step 4:  Attend Class at the location on the paper print-out. Welcome!

YMCA ASSESSMENT CENTRE

To book an appointment, please call:

Kitchener Office
519-579-9622

Cambridge Office
519-621-1621

ESL classes are funded by Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS)

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