Saturday school

Saturday school supports the retention and academic success of students from allophone immigrant families who live in the underprivileged neighbourhood of Côte des Neiges in Montréal, Québec.

Our objectives are as follows:

  • To offer one-on-one mentoring adapted to the needs of each student
  • To facilitate parents’ “connection” to their children’s school experience
  • To support emerging literacy in siblings aged 3 to 5
  • To encourage members of the local community to volunteer
  • To offer an enriching volunteering experience
  • To engage in a consistent manner with the teaching staff and school specialists

What students think of the Saturday school: “I think I will get good grades because of the small school” and “She [my tutor] helped me when I told her what I didn’t understand, and after that, it was easy to do [the exercises] at school.”

Accessibility

The Saturday school offers activities that meet the various needs and interests of students between the ages of 6 and 12, their younger siblings between the ages of 3 and 5, and their parents. These services are free and are provided in neighbourhood schools.

Most of our activities are offered, alternatively, to all children and their families in the morning. We provide an environment that has different spaces for exchanges between parents and volunteers, children, parents, friends, neighbours and families, or to celebrate a child’s birthday.

Client Involvement

The Saturday school project mobilizes students and their families, teachers in partner schools, a team of stakeholders trained in education, and more than 100 volunteer stakeholders. Students and parents participate in the following activities:

  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Workshops and areas for parents
  • Workshops for children aged 3-5 years
  • Family activities: eco arts and crafts

Stakeholder Collaboration

The Saturday school project works with schools in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood to promote the academic success of students and the integration of immigrant families.

We have signed a partnership agreement with four neighbourhood elementary schools: Des Nations, Du Petit-Chapiteau, Saint-Pascal-Baylon and Simonne Monet.

The representation of community organizations in the retention and academic success project is essential to ensuring recognition of field expertise in the school-family-community connection: Centraide du Grand-Montréal, Canada Research Chair in Education and Ethnic Relations, and the Regroupement des organismes communautaires québécois de lutte au décrochage.

Accountability

This project displays maximum responsibility to its donor agencies, its partners and the general public, as well as to the population served. We ensure that the services provided are of excellent quality. The activity reports and financial statements are given to donor agencies regularly.

Positive Outcome

The positive outcomes for the Saturday school project are:

  • Increased self-esteem at school
  • Self-confidence
  • Development of French vocabulary
  • Development of a positive relationship between education and the language of the host society
  • Improved ties to the local community
  • Appreciation of mutual aid
  • Parents included in providing academic support to their children
  • Parents have a better understanding of the school environment
  • Parents’ involvement in the school is visible
  • Stimulation for preschool children
  • Interventions are consistent with learning in school

What employees think of the Saturday school: “It’s one more place where kids can get help and improve; it’s like a second school, and it’s fun.”

Transferability

The Saturday school project is transferable given the issues and the actors already in place.

Background

Service Providers
PROMotion-Intégration-Société nouvelle (PROMIS)
Funders
Quebec Department of Education, Recreation and Sports, and Montreal School Board
Scope
Local
Locations
Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal, QC
Year of Launch
1988
Languages of Delivery
French
Client Groups Served
Children between the ages of 3 and 12 from allophone immigrant families
Expected Results
Language/Skills (Newcomers have language/skills needed to function in Canada)
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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