School board celebrates taking on the operation of francophone early learning and child care centre

This is a joint news release between the Government of Yukon and the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon.

In September 2023, the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon (CSFY) officially assumed control and management of the Garderie du petit cheval blanc (Garderie) early learning and child care centre.

This transition, supported by the CSFY school community and the society previously managing the program, was implemented to help ensure Garderie's sustainable future. This change is the result of collaboration between the Government of Yukon and CSFY to establish a process for CSFY to manage French child care centres in the Yukon.

To support this shift from a society-run initiative to a school board program, the Government of Yukon's Early Learning and Child Care Branch collaborated with CSFY and the Garderie to create a new policy framework and guidelines. This represents a first for any school board in the territory, involving the development of innovative policies within the scope of the Education Act and the Child Care Act.

Moving forward, the recently developed policy framework paves the way for other Yukon school boards to govern new or existing early learning and child care programs should they choose. This initiative demonstrates another way that the Government of Yukon is collaborating with French language programs.

The Garderie and CSFY have collaborated on various projects and initiatives, including professional development conferences and experiential learning through the forest school approach. CSFY is well-equipped to lead the ongoing development of the Garderie's programs, promising an exciting future.

I am grateful for the hard work of the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon, the Garderie and the dedicated Yukon government staff who made the transition from a society-governed model to school board oversight so smooth. We remain committed to working with partners, such as the Yukon’s school boards, to enhance early learning and child care programming in the territory, as we move toward a future where all families have access to high-quality early learning and child care that is affordable, accessible and inclusive.

– Minister of Education Jeanie McLean

The Garderie du petit cheval blanc's transition to the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon is a major achievement for French language initiatives. Together, we are helping build a sustainable future for early learning and child care. This new direction not only highlights our commitment to French language programs across the Yukon but also sets a precedent for other Yukon school boards.

– Minister responsible for French Language Services Directorate John Streicker

I am delighted with this new chapter that the CSFY is undertaking to offer early childhood services. This change supports our efforts to improve the sustainability of Francophone’s language and culture, which begins in early childhood. The CSFY will be able to support the Garderie du petit cheval blanc daycare in the planning and management of large-scale projects. The long waiting list to register children at the Garderie shows that there is a need and having the support of a larger organization like the CSFY will make it possible to meet new challenges. We thank the members of their board of directors for everything they have accomplished over the years and we thank the Yukon government for their collaboration. This transition is a historic moment for our community.

– Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon President Jean-Sébastien Blais 

Quick facts 
  • The Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon (CSFY) began overseeing the Yukon’s only French-first language early learning and child care centre on September 1, 2023.

  • The Garderie was established in 1989 by a not-for-profit society in response to the Francophone community wanting access to French child care.

  • In the more than three decades they have been in operation, they have grown from a program with seven spaces to a program that manages 97 licensed child care spaces, including the before- and after-school programs. 

  • The Garderie’s programs include an after-school program operating at École Émilie-Tremblay during the school year and a summer camp operating out of the Paul-Émile-Mercier Secondary School Community Centre (CSSC Mercier). They also operate an infant-to-preschool program out of a separate building on the same site as École Émilie-Tremblay. 

Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Zara Soukoroff
Communications, Education

Maud Caron
Communications, CSFY
867-667-8680, ext. 6942

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