Meeting Series: Mr. Dumais, President of the Vision Schools Network
March 11, 2014
Within the scope of a series of inspirational meeting sessions under the overall theme of education, the Kaleido team met with Mr. Richard Dumais. He speaks to us about the distinctive aspects that characterize the Vision Schools. The Vision network is the first group of preschool and primary, trilingual, private schools in Quebec.
Kaleido: How were Vision Schools launched? Do you have a unique concept or one that is inspired by what is being done outside of Quebec?
Richard Dumais: We actually have a unique concept developed in Drummondville in 1995. Mr. Serge Pelletier (the Network’s pedagogical director) and I acquired the enterprise in 2005. Since then, we have invested significantly in educational tool development and facility expansion to meet the strong demand.
Kaleido: Learning three languages all at once is a particular approach. How do you make it happen?
Richard Dumais: There are several factors that make it possible. First, there is the higher number of school hours. On a yearly basis, children receive 20% more class hours than in traditional schools (1,080 hours vs. 900 hours per year or 30 hours vs. 25 hours per week). At the end of the elementary cycle, it’s as if children put in a year’s worth of extra class hours!
Afterwards, we developed methods to help children learn more quickly. We found that the transfer of knowledge and skills is facilitated when kids undergo the same learning process from one language to the other. By learning and experiencing English (on a day-to-day basis) as their mother tongue, children integrate it more effectively.
Kaleido: Your network seems to offer special tools for learning such as “power words." How do you go about developing tools like these?
Richard Dumais: As a general rule, we work in collaboration with top (local or international) experts to advance our teaching methods. In the case of “power words,” which are used in the English curriculum, it is a tool developed in Quebec comprising a mixed bag of selected approaches.
Classroom layout is another distinguishing feature. Desks are arranged in islands to encourage teamwork and to allow each of the teams to undertake its own activity. In doing so, we are in a position to offer more personal interaction with students.
Kaleido: Vision Schools are found throughout Quebec. Do you have plans for expansion?
Richard Dumais: Yes, we certainly do. Our network has some twenty schools across Quebec. We wish to add four or five facilities and include the following locations in the process: Laval, Boisbriand, Saint-Hilaire (or Beloeil) and Gatineau.
For more information on the Vision Schools Network, go to visionschools.com.