A Critical Investigation of Policy, Research, and Programs that Aim to Support Children’s Transition to Kindergarten in Quebec

  • Joanne S. Lehrer Université de Québec à Montréal


This article critically examines Quebec policy and programs related to children’s transition to kindergarten, with a particular focus on “hard to reach” families (Hong, 2009; Mapp et Hong, 2010): those that are low-income, have limited levels of formal education, are part of racialized groups, speak a mother tongue other than English or French, and/or are recent immigrants. A conceptual analysis of parent pedagogicalization (Popkewitz, 2003) and of the difference between the transition to school and school readiness is followed by a review of the literature on children from “hard to reach” families beginning school. Five themes are identified in the literature: socio-demographic characteristics and academic achievement, the neighbourhood environment, transition practices, parent perspectives, and classroom processes. The article concludes with implications for policy, practice, and further research in order to support children’s transition to kindergarten from a strength-based, as opposed to a deficit-oriented, perspective (Carr, 2001; Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2007; Swadener & Lubeck, 1995).

Author Biography

Joanne S. Lehrer, Université de Québec à Montréal
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Joanne S. Lehrer, Doctorat en éducation, Université de Québec à Montréal, Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-Ville Montréal (Québec), H3C 3P8.
Email: lehrer.joanne@courrier.uqam.ca
Author’s note: This study is part of the author’s doctoral project, and is supported by a scholarship from the Fonds de recherche société et culture Québec. A preliminary version was presented at the Canadian Society for Studies in Education Conference in June, 2012. Special thanks to Isabelle Laurin, as well as to the two anonymous reviewers, for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.