Healthy living group supports Sherbrooke street workers
The Sherbrooke-based non-profit organization Estrie Physiquement Active et en Santé (EPAS) has donated the sum of $1,700 to the Sherbrooke Coalition for Street Work.
The funds were raised during the EPAS’S second edition of La Conquête d’automne, a race for walkers, runners and cyclists held last fall.
"The revenues generated by the first edition did not allow us to give a donation to the Coalition,” said event coordinator David Lepine. “it was only natural that we have reiterated our commitment to it. With a second edition that has grown in popularity, the organizing committee is pleased to be able to support the organization’s mission, to intervene with young people in their living environment," he added.
The second edition of the EPAS event attracted 11 per cent more participants than 2016 and the organizing committee was able to count on the support of some 60 volunteers, who greatly contributed to making it a success.
"In addition to having made a financial contribution to a community organization, the second edition allowed EPAS to promote its main objective: to encourage families to stay physically active and healthy,” Lepine added. ”By offering an affordable and accessible activity, in an unpretentious friendly atmosphere, we want to bring physical activity back to what it needs to be: an opportunity to move around while having fun."
The third edition of La Conquête d’automne will be held on October 7, 2018, on the Capelton Mine site. Walkers, runners, and cyclists will be offered different courses to enjoy.
Luc Fortin, Quebec’s Families Minister, Minister responsible for the Estrie Region, and Member of the National Assembly for Sherbrooke announced $26 million in financial aid over the next five years for the province’s early childhood education centres on Monday. As a part of the “Everything for Our Kids” provincial development strategy for children under nine, the new funding is meant to help ease the transition of young children in daycare centres into the school system.
“We know that (the start of school) is a period that is often stressful for children as well as for parents,” said Fortin, himself a father of young children. “This is a part of our strategy for zero to eight year olds to ensure better educational success.”
The Minister explained that the funding is divided into two main parts. The majority, $25 million, will be reserved for activities designed to help with getting children prepared for the transition from their daycare centre to a school environment, including things like school visits. The remaining million is for the development of a new obligatory file on each child to be assembled by the educators prior to “graduation.” Fortin clarified that the file will not be a digital portfolio or an academic report
card but a way to pass along information about student strengths or challenges to schools in advance.
“The file will always belong to the parent and it is their choice to share that information with the school,” the minister said, explaining that the point of the tool is to help with early intervention on special needs, rather than to create stigma in the learning environment.
Fortin put an emphasis in his announcement in fostering better communication between the different parties involved in a child’s education and upbringing, although he also added that there is a literacy component to the new funding announcement, as well.
“Too many children arrive at school having never touched a book in their lives,” he said. “We want these children to be able to develop a greater interest and love for reading, words, and sentences.”
Judith Laflamme, Director of the Centre De La Petite Enfance Le P'tit Gadu, a daycare centre in Sherbrooke’s Ascot District, welcomed the announcement even if she acknowledged the fact that it comes with certain questions about what form the new programs will take.
“I cannot say, concretely, how much money it will give us, but we can’t be against the idea of reinvesting in early childhood,” Laflamme said. “The last few years have been difficult for us so this comes as good news.”
The daycare director pointed out that as many children are in daycare centres (CPES) before they can walk, and thus the transition to a new school can be a difficult one.
“Children develop a strong attachment and sense of belonging with their daycare,” Laflamme said, praising the idea of putting programs in place to help break down the barriers between CPES and schools to help children transition more smoothly. She said that the funds announced yesterday will likely go primarily into paying for supply staff to help regular educators plan and organize new activities and outings outside of their usual work time, although she acknowledged that there are costs involved in things like trips as well.
“The challenge we face is that our children will be going to many different schools,” the director said. “We are in the process of asking parents what school their child will be going to and we will try to make connections between children going to the same places.”
Laflamme pointed out that Le P'tit Gadu already has a school transition plan in place and in operation, as well as a report similar to what Fortin’s new plan proposes.
“The goal is to give pertinent information to parents,” she said, adding that she was happy to hear Fortin say he prepared the plan in consultation with daycare educators from across the province to find out what was already being done.
“In some daycares there is already a program in place, but what we want to see is a program across all of Quebec,” Fortin said, acknowledging that the change will be greater at some CPES than others.
With around 35,000 four year olds currently enrolled in subsidized private or public daycare spots across the province at the moment, the funding works out to approximately $143 per child per year. The new funding and programs do not apply to home-based daycares, even if they are affiliated with a larger daycare centre.