Quebec is missing its target for new kindergarten classes for 4-year-olds this year. But the goal is still too high for school administrators, who are asking for a two-year moratorium on the creation of new groups.
Formerly a flagship commitment of the Legault government, the deployment of 4-year-old kindergartens is running out of steam. Only 239 new classes were created at the start of the school year in September. This is below the target of 265 new groups set in the spring by the Ministry of Education, which had already reduced its target this year compared to previous years.
Quebec planned to reach a total of 1,610 4-year-old kindergarten classes across the province in 2022. In the end, there are only 1,584.
During the election campaign, François Legault nevertheless reiterated the firmness of its promise, despite the glaring lack of teachers. “In my opinion, it is absolutely necessary that we have 4-year-old kindergarten eventually offered to all parents who want to have it,” he insisted, in an interview granted to our Parliamentary Office.
At the Ministry of Education, it should be noted that enrollment in 4-year-old preschool is on a voluntary basis and may therefore vary from year to year.
“Qui moreover, the pace of deployment must respect the real capacity of school service centers and school boards to offer the service. The network must deal with issues of space and available manpower,” agrees the spokesperson, Bryan St-Louis.
He adds that the targets had been exceeded in previous years and that 4-year-old kindergarten is now offered in the 17 administrative regions of Quebec.
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This slowdown in the development of new classes is good news for the Quebec Federation of Educational Establishment Directors, which asked for an additional brake due to the shortage of staff.  ;
But it is still too much for the school network, which is currently struggling to provide a teacher for all primary school children.
“We are not against 4-year-old kindergartens, but if we want to provide optimal service to all our students, we have to give ourselves a little air, we have to have people in our classes, there are still classes that have no teachers when we speak. Teachers won't grow up in the trees,” underlines the president, Nicolas Prévost.
According to him, nothing less than a temporary moratorium on the creation of new 4-year-old kindergarten groups is needed, while the network gets its head out of the water.
“If we said to ourselves, we put 4-year-old kindergarten on hold for two years, to make sure that we have more people everywhere else. For us, it's one of the ways to get more people because there aren't 50,000 solutions,” he insists.
Nicolas Prévost recalls that a 4-year-old kindergarten group not only orders a teacher, but also a part-time special education technician (TES). “So it's also support staff that we add annually, that's what becomes very, very difficult in the network,” he said.
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128