A new program will soon be launched in kindergartens 4 and 5 years old in Quebec. In addition to promoting the overall development of children, the training focuses on prevention to detect early learning and behavioral difficulties and thus fight against dropping out of school.
“More than half of Quebecers have a low level of reading skills and this difficulty did not appear at 16 when they left school. It starts at a young age in the family environment. This is why kindergarten is a privileged place to create the best learning conditions, to break down inequalities at the cradle and to give everyone the same chances to succeed ”, explains in an interview Monique Brodeur, full professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the education of UQAM.
She chairs the committee responsible for creating the new preschool education cycle program and ensuring its implementation in the community. She also agreed to share with The duty the “quasi final” document, adopted by the government very recently. It will soon find itself in the hands of teachers and education faculties who train the next generation.
This new program brings a bit of standardization since until now, three very distinct programs have guided teachers: one for kindergarten 4 years old part-time, another for kindergarten 4 years full-time and a last for kindergarten 5 years.
In the eyes of the teacher, kindergarten for 4 and 5 years old is a key moment in the education process of children and can have an important influence on their school, professional and more broadly their life course. “There is some basic knowledge that should not be overlooked before entering first year. Recognizing the letters of the alphabet, for example, is important to promote learning to read, which is necessary for learning other subjects afterwards and for success in school, ”notes Monique Brodeur.
The overall development of the child will thus always be at the center of training, that is to say, developing the physical and motor, emotional, social, language and cognitive aspects. For this, teachers will have to create the right conditions, such as “offering them a safe, caring and inclusive living environment”; “Cultivate the pleasure of exploring, discovering and learning”, but also “setting up the basics of schooling” such as, for example, integrating into a group, feeling safe with an adult and others children, participating in a game or an activity, knowing how to listen and take turns, being able to ask for help or even overcome obstacles, can we read in the new program.
Teachers will also have the essential role of identifying the special needs that certain children may require. “Implementing preventive measures means taking a careful look at each child in order to support their overall development according to their maturity, pace and needs. It means acting in collaboration with families, early childhood education services, complementary services and social services to ensure consistency and continuity of interventions, “it says.
Thus, if some children need more help in learning the basics necessary for entering first year, the teacher can then call on professionals to lend them a hand, such as remedial teachers, psychoeducators. or speech therapists. An intervention that may be perceived as too late once in the first year since the child will have already accumulated a delay. “It can have a snowball effect, it turns into academic difficulties, then into the risk of dropping out. “
Mme Brodeur, however, wishes to be reassuring to parents: focusing training on prevention does not mean that play periods will be threatened. “On the contrary, play will take center stage since this is also how children can be encouraged to learn. The idea is not to create a space that looks like the first year. There are still children of 4-5 years, ”she explains.
“Children who learn while having fun and who feel good in kindergarten will have a positive image of school and will be more confident, motivated and able to succeed,” the new program adds.