Thousands of new arrivals will receive a “Passe-Partout” kit

Starting in February 2024, toddlers new to Quebec will receive an educational kit Master keyfrom the famous children’s show, when they arrive at the airport, Quebec announced Tuesday morning.

For almost a year, François Legault’s government plans to distribute around 10,000 of these blue backpacks. “Today’s project will ensure that the youngest new Quebecers who arrive can be in contact with French-speaking culture. But beyond the French-speaking character, with our culture too,” rejoiced Mathieu Lacombe, Minister of Culture and Communications, during a press briefing at the Télé-Québec offices in Montreal.

According to Mr. Lacombe, the choice of the universe of Master key for this educational project is wise, because it crosses generations. The show, which had enjoyed enormous success in the 1970s and 1980s during its first version, then returned to the airwaves in a new version in 2019. Incarnated by the new cast of the series, the characters of Passe-Partout (Élodie Grenier), Passe-Carreau (Gabrielle Fontaine) and Grand-Mère (Danielle Proulx) had also dressed in their colorful clothes for the event.

Near them, the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Christine Fréchette, revealed the granting of approximately $2.7 million to Télé-Québec to carry out this project. The kit given to newly arrived children will notably contain an educational activity book on the theme of this children’s program.

The backpack will also contain the game “I’m going to the market”, to teach toddlers to name foods like the famous Passe-Partout characters Pruneau et Cinnamon do. The latter’s stuffed animal, a seal called Biscuit, will also be offered. Added to this is a special issue of the magazine Being born and growing up intended for parents who immigrate to Quebec, as well as a device from which it is possible to listen to songs and musical tales, in addition to creating stories.

A cardboard box with a QR code and a website address, placed in the kit, will help guide little ones to the content of Master key online, such as the 60 language capsules with Passe-Montagne, which come from the first five seasons of the show. Using nursery rhymes and songs, the aim is to teach these children new words, as well as their pronunciation and common usage. More than 80 short programs filmed especially for the project will also be available.

Passe-Partout capsules for everyone

The capsules will also be accessible to everyone on the Internet and not just to children who arrive by air in Quebec, specified Minister Fréchette. “The partners who are the organizations welcoming and supporting immigrants, as well as the CPEs, will certainly be interested in using these tools. »

Asked whether the project will extend beyond the first year, Mme Fréchette said he first wanted to collect comments on this initiative after it was launched. “Then we will make the decisions for the future,” she added.

For her part, the president and CEO of Télé-Québec, Marie Collin, assured that the show had “everything needed to develop children’s language and emotional skills.”

Mme Collin mentioned the novel in passing Where I hideby Caroline Dawson, in which the narrator describes being comforted by episodes of Master key when he arrived in Quebec in the 1980s, while his family was fleeing the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. “When I read his book, I had the impression of touching a little on the reality of a young immigrant,” she said.

With the initiative presented Tuesday, the president and CEO of Télé-Québec said she was very happy to possibly make the integration of new young Quebecers easier.

For his part, the director of the Language School of the University of Quebec in Montreal, Lahcen Elghazi, welcomes the project. The French language teacher recommends a “systemic” approach to francization, that is, using a set of tools such as films and shows, without forgetting books and plays.

“But the initiative is insufficient, because what I find interesting is to set up other projects aimed at parents,” he continues. Mr. Elghazi believes that more support must be provided to new arrival mothers and fathers so that they can take their learning of French further than francization courses.

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