Sac à dos Program
Recognized for its school-family-community approach, Sac à dos is an academic perseverance program that contributes to the educational success of students from Grades 3 to 6 (ages 8 to 12). Since its launch in 2015, over 170 students have received or are still receiving personalized and joint support from our youth workers and from their school and parents.
The Sac à dos team mainly helps young people with their school needs (learning disabilities, behavioural problems), personal needs (social skills, organization, independence) or social needs (family difficulties, social integration need).
Our staff work with these youths to help them achieve different goals
Increase their motivation for school
Improve their social skills
Develop their work methods
Enhance their enjoyment of reading
How the program works
The program activities take place at partner elementary schools to create connections between school teams and Sac à dos staff. Each youth participates twice a week from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. either on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. The students can then apply what they learn at home the next day either on their own or with their parents. In addition to helping young people develop their independence, this format also gets parents involved in their child’s schooling. The students can get support for one to four years depending on which school year they start in.
Partner primary schools
After school – 30 min
Students arrive, transition period: welcome, snack and relaxation time.
Homework and studies – 45 min
A youth worker helps the students with their homework.
Reading workshop – 15 min
Personal reading time or fun reading activity.
Fun and educational workshop – 50 min
The kids have fun while developing their skills through activities (e.g., drama, visual arts, sports, projects).
Activity recap – 10 min
Overview of the afternoon period.
End of activities and students leave
Ideal time for staff meet and talk with parents.
Sophie's Sac à dos Experience
When school is done for the day, I go down to room 2B to join my Sac à dos group. With my friends, I share a snack provided by my youth workers, Alexandre and Myriam, and I tell them all about my day.
I then join my subgroup for homework time. Alexandre takes time to check that I have all my workbooks and supplies and helps me plan my time. If I’m having trouble with a subject, he uses fun ways to help me understand.
Then it’s time for the reading workshop. I put away all my school books because today we’re talking about comics, something I don’t know much about. For 15 minutes, my friends and I read out loud from different comics and talk about the stories.
After laughing a lot at a character’s nose, I quickly help put the comics away because I’m excited about my favourite time of the day: the fun and educational workshop! Last week we started preparing a play, and today we’re going to discuss our characters and plan our costumes.
When Alexandre tells everyone that the activity is over, we all clean up before the activity recap. I talk about how the workshops went with my friends and share my experiences from the day. This activity helps me practice listening to others and waiting my turn to speak. We discuss what we learned and point out the positive things our friends have done.
Tomorrow, I’ll go home right after school. With my mom, I’ll get to practice the method that Alexandre showed me to solve my math problem. I’m also going to read a comic book. I can’t wait to go back to Sac à dos on Thursday, when I’ll tell the story to my friends.
With a ratio of two youth workers for every 15 students, we can provide personalized support that complements what the school is already doing.
First, a youth worker collects information about each student to get a general idea of their situation. After spending some time observing and analyzing the collected information, the youth worker will create a personalized action plan to help the student work on specific goals. This plan is also shared with the parents and teacher. During the school year, program staff will provide personalized follow-up and assessments with the child and their parents and their teacher to provide the best support possible.
Through the individual work periods and the different fun and educational workshops, young people in the program can work on their personal goals and develop or reinforce their work methods, social skills, social behaviours, and ability to interact with others.
A video that says it all!
Sac à dos gives me self-confidence. It helps me with teamwork because we do a lot of activities as a team and we learn how to help each other. If we ever get discouraged with our homework, they help us.
At home, my daughter will read quite a few pages, and she reads more than she used to. The project has had an impact on her enjoyment of reading.
Sac à dos meets needs: it motivates students. They are excited to go and want to go.