Healthy liv­ing group sup­ports Sher­brooke street work­ers

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - Record Staff By Gor­don Lam­bie

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.


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