As the beginning of the school year looms, one local Montreal business is looking to offer families an alternative to traditional schooling amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Skytag amusement centre in Dollard-Des Ormeaux in Montreal’s West Island is offering a twist on homeschooling for parents. The centre, equipped with laser tag, arcades and trampolines is offering a place for kids to spend the day and learn the school curriculum via Quebec Online School, an organization that supports parents who homeschool.
The center has the capacity for 60 kids, so co-owner Danielle Delannoy says they can operate six classrooms with ten students per group as per the government’s social distancing regulations for school children to stay in their “pods” of 10 or less.
Director of Quebec Online School Sinead Gleeson Roy told Global News the homeschooling program she runs complies with the provincial government’s education program.
Delannoy says that the centre wouldn’t necessarily have teachers teaching the students but “facilitators,” which she describes as anyone with experience with children. This could include mothers and substitute teachers.
Quebec’s education ministry is however concerned about potentIal irregularities as parents have been reaching out to the ministry with regards to what Skytag is offering. A spokesperson for the ministry said a notice of non-conformity will be sent to the business.
Delannoy, however, insists the plan is legitimate and conforms and says she plans on sending her own child to Skytag.
“We are daycare. We are watching over their children. We are ensuring they’re getting their physical wellness and their socialization,” Delannoy added.
Gleeson Roy says the only limitation is that parents follow the homeschooling steps and comply with the curriculum.
Delannoy told Global News so far over 20 families have reached out and shown interest. Skytag would charge parents between $300-400 per week.