Thursday, 18 August 2011

Thursday in the Park with Jeanne and More Than Thirty Years of Subsidized Day Care in Quebec

Today Jeanne is spending the day with us, the first time she's passed a whole day away from her parents some place not her own home. It's momentous in a way, but she will be a year old in a week so she's quite ready for the experience, as are Grandma and Grandpa.

We spent much of the morning in Parc Outremont, three blocks from here where I passed many hours with Jeanne's mother and her uncle. Some things are the same: the babysitters with their charges who are often not all that good at sharing toys, the grandmothers ready to make contact with other grandmothers partly in order to share grandkid stories, and the troops of kids from the neighborhood daycares.

Anong them were the Garderie Querbes, where Jeanne's mother was the young child when it opened in September 1978. Before I knew who they were I noted how the kids looked out for each other and shared toys, and once I'd had a chat with one of the educatrices I saw that cooperation still seems to be a value encouraged there: they cheerfully packed up their sand toys when it was time to go, and raced to help wheel the big cart full of equipment back.

The Garderie Querbes was started by a group of parents as part of the big demand for child care that surfaced in the 1970s. Quebec's $7 a day, provincially subsidized, certified day cares are the lineal descendant of that period of social action. A generation of kids have passed through the system, and now many are sending their own children to daycares in this outstanding intiative. The rest of Canada should do likewise.

Certainly the demand for this kind of reliable, affordable child care is huge: Jeanne's on several waiting lists, but it may be months before there's a place for her. In the meantime, Grandma and Grandpa will help out now and then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds so delightful....enjoy it all...Grandma and Grandpa....smiles..cousin ruth