Recently, we have witnessed a media debate surrounding the new Preschool Cycle Program that has just been approved by the Minister. The addition of preventive interventions is the epicentre of the debate and seems to oppose the use of the two balanced approaches to preschool education: the developmental approach and the preventive approach.
Since 2018, QPAT has been involved with a provincial preschool committee (CSICEP – comité de suivi et d’implantation du cycle d’éducation préscolaire) that was set up by Minister Roberge. The committee is composed of representatives from provincial teacher unions, the Association d’éducation préscolaire du Québec (AEPQ), and various universities in Québec. Part of QPAT’s role in this committee is to bring forth teacher input from the English sector. The addition of a preventive component in the new program, to promote academic success, was a topic discussed at length within this committee. Consultations with teachers confirmed that the prevention component of the program needs to be included as part of the balanced approach.
Many students arrive in kindergarten with complex difficulties and for many, it is difficult to obtain support services. Teachers are often told: preschool children are too young to receive services and the problem will go away as they mature; there is no urgency to provide services since kindergarten is not compulsory; resources are scarce or not available, so other students are prioritized. In this respect, the new program recognizes the needs of preschool children who present certain difficulties and the importance of using the necessary professional services personnel.
Rather than enter into a debate on the dual mandate of the new program, QPAT has chosen to move forward by defending the expertise and professional judgment of teachers, and by pushing for preschool teachers to have access to the new program so they may experiment with it and make recommendations for improvement. QPAT will also continue to advocate for improved teaching and learning conditions, additional training, learning material, and an appropriate preschool cycle report card.
Please rest assured that your union is fighting to ensure that your voices are heard and that it is essential that vulnerable children in early childhood education are given the professional and support services to which they are entitled.
President- Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT-APEQ)
We are currently living through a surreal and uncertain time. I hope you are all safe and healthy, taking the time to breathe, remaining at home, and spending time with your families.
We want to assure you that QPAT is in frequent communication with the Ministry as well as the management team of the English school boards. As information arrives, we will forward it to your local union and post the information on the QPAT website, which is being updated on a regular basis.
It’s important to be patient; we want to make sure that we give accurate answers, as it is essential to avoid confusion.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Social Services adopted a decree (an official order), to suspend all collective agreements between the school boards and their employees. The president of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) spoke with the Deputy Minister of Education and was assured that the decree has been put in place to ensure emergency daycare for healthcare workers as well as other workers providing essential services in light of the COVID-19 crisis. At this point, there is no intention to ask teachers to report to work. QPAT will continue to keep in touch with its counterparts to protect your rights and ensure the health and well being of its members.
Rest assured that we will keep you informed of new developments via our website and through your local union.
Heidi Yetman President of QPAT
This has been an emotional roller coaster for all. Thankfully, we received the directive on Friday from the Ministry of Education regarding the closure of all schools and centres until March 27. We truly believe this was an excellent decision.
As you know, the COVID-19 outbreak has become a serious concern around the world, with thousands of people infected, a growing number of fatalities, entire cities shut down and millions of students out of school. In addition, last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
The Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers is doing everything it can to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers across this province. Rest assured we are keepingcommunications open on the matter with the different partners, and we will keep you informed as we move together during this uncertain time.
In the meantime, take this time to unwind, spend time with your families, stay safe and healthy.
For more information on COVID-19, visit Quebec.ca and Canada.ca:
- Teachers should be paid during the period of time that schools and centres are closed, according to their planned work schedule, as established before the announcement of the closure.
- Substitute teachers, hourly paid teachers and teachers by the lesson whose assignments were already confirmed before the announcement of the closure should be paid according to their planned work schedule.
- Teachers who were already scheduled to be absent before the announcement of the closure should be paid according to the nature of their absence, as the case may be (e.g. vacation days, medical appointment). Absences should be recorded as approved.
- Teachers will continue to accumulate benefits, as if they had been at work. These days are treated as workdays.