Quebec to expand pre-kindergarten classes across province
Published Monday, June 12, 2017 5:48PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 12, 2017 7:07PM EDT
Changes will be coming to schools across the province in the fall.
"The school boards will be there, we'll help, we will answer the question: 'are you ready?' We will be ready," said Alain Fortier of the Federation of Quebec School Boards.
This August the province will roll out 100 new pre-kindergarten classes across Quebec, including at 14 schools in Montreal.
The first pre-kindergarten classes were launched four years ago by the then-PQ government and were aimed at those living in low-income neighbourhoods.
That same goal is in place now, with Fortier saying schools will focus on those parents less likely to send their children to daycare.
"We need to focus on those who are staying at home, are not socialized with others, need some stimulus to learn how to behave socially, to develop their physical skills. So I think the focus is great," he said.
Education Minister Sebastien Proulx says when schools can intervene early, children who may have special needs can be identified faster, helped sooner, and are quicker to catch up with other children in their age group.
"We start them a little earlier, to give them a chance to better follow the others," said Proulx.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec, however, would like Quebec to do more.
As it first proposed last year, it wants to the government to make pre-kindergarten classes available to every four-year-old in the province.
"Certainly, the government is trying to seduce voters with its announcement and with its actions," said CAQ MNA Francois Paradis, pointing out the Liberals are making many announcements just before politicians go on break for the summer.
The government is investing about $11 million to expand the pre-kindergarten program.
The announcement came on the same day the federal government announced a plan to spend $500 million this year in multiple provinces on creating new, subsidized spaces for daycare.