Avenir d’enfants for early childhood development

The first years of a child's life are crucial for their development. Every child deserves to have a good start in life to ensure that he or she has the best chance of obtaining a successful education. Some children, however, grow up in environments that do not allow them to develop at the same rate as others. This discrepancy becomes increasingly apparent when children are starting school, at a time when they must all adapt to the requirements of the educational system.

If five-year-old children are to get off to a good start in kindergarten, they must have acquired a certain degree of psychological, cognitive and social maturity. The Early Development Instrument (EDI) identifies five domains of childhood development:

  • Physical health and well-being
  • Social competence
  • Emotional maturity
  • Language and cognitive development
  • Communication skills and general knowledge

According to a 2008 study by the public health branch of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, 65% of Montreal children have the necessary maturity to enter kindergarten at five years of age, while 35% are vulnerable in at least one of the five EDI domains cited above.

In 2002, the Foundation adopted a preventive approach with respect to young children that was the basis for several projects, including Québec Enfants. The mission of this organization was to support local community projects -- initiated by community organizations, daycares, schools, health and social service providers and municipalities -- that contributed to the overall childhood development from conception to age 5 with the goal of helping children get a good start in school.

In September 2009, to complement the actions taken by Québec Enfants and reach a larger number of children, the Foundation signed a partnership agreement with the Quebec government, which led to the establishment of the Early Childhood Development Fund (Fonds pour le développement des jeunes enfants). This in turn resulted in the creation of Avenir d'enfants, a non-profit organization (NPO) responsible for managing a fund valued at $400 million ($250 million from the Foundation and $150 million from the Quebec government) over the 10-year period from 2009 to 2019.

With the prospect of contributing to the overall development of children five and under living in poverty, and to help ensure that every child has a chance to get a good start in life, Avenir d'enfants focuses on three key areas:

  • Helping to mobilize communities by supporting projects, activities or initiatives that promote children's development
  • Reaching out to the most vulnerable parents and families, mainly through the intermediary of local partnership groups
  • Strengthening the ability of local and regional organizations to work together.

Today, Avenir d'enfants comprises:

Projects supported

Avenir d'enfants lends its support to many projects. Some, carried out directly in our communities, are intended for children and their parents, while others aim at giving professionals who work with the very young the possibility of improving their interventions with the necessary knowledge and tools. The examples below are only a sample of the type of projects that Avenir d'enfants actively supports.

Examples of community projects



The Ma famille, ma communauté approach in three pilot regions

The Association des centres jeunesse du Québec (ACJQ) is currently testing an approach called Ma famille, ma communauté in three regions of Quebec. The program, a Quebec adaptation of the Family to Family approach developed by the Casey Foundation in the United States, works to improve the safety, stability, welfare and development of vulnerable children by setting up and providing local support for a community partnership as well as for resource families.


La Maison Bleue

La maison bleue: an innovative model for perinatal support

La Maison Bleue was established in Montreal to break the isolation of pregnant women in vulnerable situations by offering them the resources they need to help ensure that their children are born and grow up in conditions that will enable them to develop fully.


Examples of projects aimed at the transfer and appropriation of knowledge


Jeux d'enfants

Jeux d'enfants

This is a project to train educators in the use of the Jeux d'enfants program in order to deploy the activity throughout Quebec. Jeux d'enfants stimulates the development of children from birth to 5 years of age by focusing on learning through reading, writing and language. It also enhances the acquisition of new skills related to socialization, emotional and cognitive development, creativity, spatial recognition and motor ability.


Agora: training in community action practices

With Agora, the Fédération québécoise des organismes communautaires Famille hopes to promote recognition, consistency and innovation in community action in the form of organismes communautaires Famille (OCF) - community family support networks. The project compiles records and promotes their expertise, ensures training of personnel and encourages the development of new tools in three areas: community action practices in family support networks, family literacy activities and management practices. And, last but not least, the project is creating connections with the research community.

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The mission of Avenir d'enfants

By supporting local community initiatives, Avenir d'enfants strives to fulfill its mission: to advance the overall development of children five and under living in poverty to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get a good start in life.

Avenir d'enfants website                   Contacts

It takes a village…

Many communities across Quebec are concerned about the well-being of their children. Avenir d'enfants supports community mobilization. La Constellation 0-5 ans in Lac-Mégantic, in the MRC (regional county municipality) of Granit, is a perfect example of what can happen when a community decides to act together. (in French)