If you need to contact your teacher,

please call 519-745-1201 ext 245  OR ext 229 or email: esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca

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 Children, Community and Social Services 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…. English for School, Work, 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 ~ NO NEW visitors currently being accepted during COVID-19 school closures)
  • at ANY Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level

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

How do I know my English is good?

English Language Assessments are done at the YMCA.  Although the YMCA is currently not conducting assessments, please call 519-579-9622 to determine your eligibility.  If you have had a language assessment in the last two years by the YMCA or in class or have been placed on a waiting list, you may qualify for acceptance into a St. Louis ESL remote learning class.  The YMCA can confirm which English Language class you are eligible for and which language level you are at.


If you are a VISITOR TO CANADA, please contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre to determine if you are eligible for a free language assessment and discuss terms of enrollment.

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first– 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge).

Step 2: If you are not eligible for a free assessment with the YMCA, contact esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca  Mon – Fri 8:30am-12:30pm. CLOSED

Step 3:  If you have previously taken classes at St. Louis as a Visitor, we may be able to re-register you.  Unfortunately NO NEW Visitors are accepted at this time.

Step 4:  Eligible visitors pay Materials Fee: $40 + Hourly Rate:  $7 per hour (paid for the whole month in advance)

Step 5: Attend remote ESL classes


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!  Returning St. Louis Visitor students 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.

ESL Classes are currently offered remotely during COVID-19 school closures until further notice.

The following information will be updated in August when we have confirmation about return to school:

Class Start and End Times by Location: 


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 (Sept 14,2020 - June 18, 2021)
St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, Cambridge

St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus
St. Louis – St. Francis Campus, Kitchener
St. Louis ESL class – Emmanuel Campus


Saturday, 9:00am – 12:oopm (Sept 19,2020 - June 19, 2021)
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 (Sept 14,2020 - June 18, 2021)

St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, Cambridge

St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus
St. Louis – St. Francis Campus, Kitchener
St. Louis ESL class – Emmanuel Campus


E v e n i n g   C l a s s e s


Mon & Wed and/or Tues & Thurs 6:30pm – 9:30pm (Sept 14,2020 - June 17, 2021)
St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus

Mon & Wed, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (Sept 14,2020 - June 16, 2021)
St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, Cambridge

As of September 1, 2020 THERE WILL BE NO $10 annual Materials FEE for taking ESL course. There still will be fees for visitor students. 

(September to June)

UPDATE:

St. Louis is accepting NEW ESL students who have been on our waiting list.  Other NEW students eligible to register will have had a language assessment in the LAST 2 YEARS, or have had a language assessment in any LINC or ESL class.

Are you a Visitor to Canada? (NO NEW visitors are currently being accepted)

Returning St. Louis Visitor students would pay the following Fees:

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

Attention Visitors wanting to take ESL classes: Please contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first to determine if you are eligible for FREE language classes.  If you are not eligible,  you will have to wait until the St. Louis ESL office re-opens after the COVID-19 School Closure is lifted.  Hours of operation are typically Mon – Fri 8:30am-12:30pm and at that time, you may book an assessment appointment.

If you are a current ESL Visitor Student, please contact esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca with a passport or VISA.

To continue payment of  visitor's fees, please contact esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca.

When schools re-open after COVID-19, ESL students who attend class, may be purchase a spot in our licensed child care centre for your pre-school age child.  Note licensed child care is not open in Summer.

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.

Registration for ESL STUDENTS is OPEN only ONLINE.

Click on the green button below for the location of your choice or recommended to you by the YMCA.

We will contact students as soon as possible when they complete the Form.


Check if you are Eligible?

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre – 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge).  They will confirm if your language assessment completed by them or in any former LINC/ESL class in the last 2 years is still eligible for you to re-enrol in an English Language class. NEW visitors are currently NOT being accepted.

Step 2: Register at the location suggested by the YMCA.  If a St. Louis location is suggested, contact esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca  listed on the assessment paper print-out.  If you have been on the St. Louis waiting list and wish to enrol, please contact esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca

Current locations are CLOSED during COVID-19 school closures.

ONLINE Registration Open


St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus77 Young Street, Kitchener  (Online Registration Only)

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

St. Louis – Emmanuel Campus, 22 Bridgeport Road West, Waterloo (Online Registration Only)

  • ESL Registration office open Tuesday and Friday ONLY: 11:30am-12:45pm

St. Louis – St. Benedict Campus, 50 Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge (Online Registration Only)


St. Louis – St. Francis Campus, 154 Gatewood Drive, Kitchener (Online Registration Only)


VISITOR to Canada?

**Visitors need an assessment before coming to class, so please contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first. NEW Visitors are currently NOT being accepted during COVID-19 school closures. The YMCA will discuss with you whether you are eligible for a free language assessment. Unfortunately, no new language assessments are being conducted, however the assessment office is answering inquiries about eligibility. 

For Returning St. Louis Visitor Students:

Materials Fee is $40

Instructional fees are $7/hour (pre-paid to the end of each month)

VISITOR to Canada?

**Visitors need an assessment before coming to class, so please contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre first.

NEW Visitors are currently NOT being accepted during COVID-19 school closures.

The YMCA will discuss with you whether you are eligible for a free language assessment. Unfortunately, no new language assessments are being conducted, however the assessment office is answering inquiries about eligibility. 

For Returning St. Louis Visitor Students:

Materials Fee is $40

Instructional fees are $7/hour (pre-paid to the end of each month)

St. Louis ESL teachers are teaching ESL from their homes

during COVID-19 school closures!

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.

Many are creatively supporting our students from their home to yours.  Stay home, Be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information:

Call: 519-745-1201 ext. 245 or 229

Email: esl.stlouis@wcdsb.ca

YMCA ASSESSMENT CENTRE

Kitchener Office
519-579-9622

Cambridge Office
519-621-1621

St.Louis-ontario