Kindergarten and Slowly Educable Child Programs

Throughout the 1950s, TMI devoted special attention to parents, children, schoolteachers and caretakers through its Kindergarten and “Slowly Educable Child” programs.

In 1952, TMI conducted its first courses for children with intellectual disabilities aimed at care workers, teachers and parents. A two-year program started in 1954 offering classes on Saturday mornings and one other evening a week from October to May. The “Slowly Educable Child” Program ran for 20 years with financial assistance from Quebec’s Department of Education and in conjunction with the St. Joseph Teachers College. The program was headed by Dr. Gerard Barbeau, then director of Special Education at the Montreal Catholic School Commission, and was designed with the help of staff from the Montreal Children’s Hospital (then the Children’s Memorial Hospital), Mount Providence Childcare Development Center, The Mental Hygiene Institute and the Mental Hygiene Clinic. The first of its kind within the province’s English education sector, it provided training in basic attitudes and specific skills in instructing and caring for children with intellectual disabilities. Courses included Remedial Reading, Basic Phonics, Motor Development and Perception, and Speech Correction, alongside more generalist coursework in French language study and religion. The program borrowed from the special education curriculum given in French at the Jacques Cartier Normal School and was made accessible to teachers within both the Catholic and Protestant school systems. In its first year, it attracted approximately 35 people, 6 of whom held previous teaching certificates.

During this period, in 1959, TMI also initiated a short-lived Kindergarten program in collaboration with St. Joseph Teachers College with courses designed for preschool educators.

Both programs were gradually phased out in 1970.

Programs and Courses
Kindergarten and Slowly Educable Child Programs