MONTREAL — Far back on the universal deployment of kindergarten at 4 years old, the minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge announced Sunday that, starting next year, 250 new classes for children from 4 years will be created.
A few hours after groups representing child care services had hammered their opposition to the project of the government Legault, the minister Roberge arevealed that as soon as the next school year, there will be a total of 644 classes of kindergarten for children 4 years of age.
This is according to him a “plan ordered, which takes into account the current resources of the school network”, given that it was developed with the school boards.
“The school boards have indicated to us how many classes they wanted to add school 4 years taking into account the availability of classes, but also teachers and professionals to give a high quality of service”, he explained in an interview.
Therefore, there will be classes available to accommodate new students, assured the minister.
“There are classes, which are free. Of course, it is more rare in some areas, there are more in other areas,” he acknowledged.
These new classes will be available in all regions of Quebec. In Montreal, for example, there will be 36 new classes, for a total of 125 in the metropolis.
The teachers of these classes will also be supported by a teacher or a technician in special education, who will be present half the time.
“It gives us a ratio of one adult to ten, which is a ratio exceptional. I add to it professionals – remedial teachers, speech therapists, psychoeducators, – who will come and support the children, teachers and educators,” said Mr. Roberge.
The next year, to be eligible to access classes, the department will take into account the deprivation index, he added.
Criticism of the project
In the morning, representatives of the educational childcare services and interveners in early childhood have urged the government to back down on its commitment. According to them, the educational childcare services already offer everything you need for children of 4 years, particularly in terms of identifying learning disabilities.
Mr. Roberge judge, however, that it is “wrong” to oppose the two networks.
“We are deploying two networks at the same time: the CPE – the places that are there will stay and we will add it and it will add spaces in kindergarten 4 years ago,” he explained.
The government Legault does not want to devalue the network of educational childcare services, ensures the minister Roberge.
“What we want is to offer parents choice. The parents do not have the choice in this moment, he pleaded. We, it adds to the supply of public services.”
The minister Roberge believes that the status quo only exacerbates the situation of young people in difficulty.
“One child in four, in fact 27 per cent of children arrive at kindergarten 5 years old by being vulnerable in one domain of development – 27 percent arrive so poorly prepared for kindergarten, and this is a figure that is growing”, he argued.