Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process of reflecting on an experience, both during and after the experience, extracting meaning from it, and then applying what has been learned.  Such opportunities help students to see the connections between curriculum taught in courses and its application in the real world. Experiential Learning can also increase self-esteem and engagement in the workplace or school, improve motivation, and improve social and leadership skills.


Students are encouraged to access experiential learning opportunities throughout high school to aid in planning a pathway toward educational goals and ultimately meaningful work.


Experiential Learning Programs at Notre Dame CSS

  • Cooperative Education
  • Dual Credit Courses
  • Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
  • Specialist High Skills Major
  • Step Program
  • Work Experience

Each program is designed to meet the needs of a specific student profile.
See your Guidance Counsellor to determine which program(s) you would most benefit from.


Cooperative Education

Through this program, students bound for university, college, apprenticeships, or the workplace can earn credits toward their diploma.  It provides students with an opportunity to apply the concepts of specific school subjects to a community work placement. 

Cooperative education allows you to earn two or four credits. The number of credits depends on the length of the experience in the program:

  • 2 credits (half-day -- am or pm) = 220+ hours in one semester
  • 4 credits (full-day) = 440+ hours in one semester

The program includes a classroom component and placement component.  Classroom sessions will include health and safety training, review of job search skills, confidentiality, work ethics, the role of unions and a Personalized Placement Learning Plan for each student.


The Step Program

This course prepares students to make successful transitions to post-secondary destinations as they investigate specific post-secondary options based on their skills, interests, and personal characteristics. Students will explore the realities and opportunities of the workplace and examine factors that affect success, while refining their job-search and employability skills.  Students will develop their portfolios with a focus on their targeted destination and develop an action plan for future success.  This is pre-co-op experience and is intended for those who would like to participate in the Cooperative Education Program, but are not ready, OR plan on entering the workforce after high school. An application is required for admission to this course.


Work Experience

This course involves the development of skills related to employment which may include job
searching skills, specific work skills, work etiquette, and documentation related to work.  This non-credit course is run through the Program Support Department and students are only eligible upon approval of administration.