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A Program Showcase: Centre de la Petite Enfance de McGill, Montreal, Canada

by Michael Kalinowski
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On a warm summer afternoon I climbed the Peel Street hill in the heart of Montreal, away from the shops and boutique hotels below, and towards McGill University, Mont-Royal, and the series of the gray stone buildings that house the McGill Childcare Centre, also known officially as the Centre de la Petite Enfance de McGill or CPE McGill. Wally Wang-Garrety founded the program in 1973 with help from a federal local initiative grant. Her primary goal was, "that the daycare would place an emphasis on the social and emotional development of each child
. . . a home away from home."

Today, CPE McGill is a non-profit corporation holding permits from the City of Montreal and the Quebec Government, and is governed by an elected Board of Directors composed primarily of parents, with one staff and one community representative. Parents are welcomed into the CPE community with a ­coffee social, and encouraged to participate by reading stories, playing instruments, serving on committees, and attending an annual community barbecue. As befits a metropolitan program, children have access to a swimming program, education department library, campus gardens, and excellent campus and city museums.

The program staff includes 18 full-time and four part-time educators, and two ...

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