In March 2001, the Quebec government and the Conseil régional de développement de l’Île de Montréal (since renamed Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) de Montréal) signed an agreement to promote dialogue and networking among the many stakeholders affected by this new restructuring of primary school education. This agreement led to an action plan for Montréal dubbed “L’île du savoir.” From 2001 to 2005, L’île du savoir was operated in collaboration with the Société pour la promotion de la science et de la technologie and led to the creation of seven projects, Éclairs de sciences among them.

The history of Éclairs de sciences

Introducing science and technology early on in the curriculum is part of a broad government strategy to promote and improve the scientific and technological literacy of Quebecers. The purpose of doing so is to better equip the citizens of tomorrow so that they will have a greater understanding of new issues related to science and technology.

The arrival of the new Québec Education Program in 2001 led to an important restructuring of teaching in the province’s elementary schools: a new project-based approach, a two-year learning cycle, evaluations based on competency rather than cognition, and a list of essential concepts altered students’ entire academic paths. Another significant aspect of these changes was that learning competencies and “essential knowledges” in science and technology became mandatory in elementary cycles 2 and 3.

The majority of the teachers consulted during the first edition of Éclairs de sciences did not feel that they had the training necessary to teach science and technology in a manner that complied with the new requirements of the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (since renamed Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche – MEESR). They felt daunted by the huge task of coming up with subjects and experiments that met the requirements of the curriculum, finding materials to use in experiments, obtaining documentation to better understand difficult concepts, and gaining enough confidence in their abilities to be able to answer students’ trick questions and guide them in their research.

Despite these challenges, teachers do want to make science and technology a priority in the curriculum. This is why the first goal of Éclairs de sciences is to make it easier for teachers to teach this subject. The resources developed by Éclairs de sciences were specially designed for teachers and use the process of active discovery to structure teaching.

The Éclairs de sciences forum 2003–2009

The first six years of the program focused on growth and on developing resources and support for teachers. In May 2009, a discussion forum was set up jointly by L’île du savoir, the Montréal Science Centre and the Montréal regional department of the MELS. The purpose of the forum was to update Éclairs de sciences and set broad orientations for the next three years. Working groups spent the day workshopping the four facets of the program: pedagogical support, scientific guidance, the website, and the activity bank.

The objective was to bring the very best ideas to the forefront in order to capitalize on Éclairs de sciences’ strengths and identify improvements that would prove most beneficial to teachers.

After the forum, a detailed analysis was carried out, which gave rise to the Éclairs de sciences 2009–2012 Action Plan. The action plan covered each of the four facets of Éclairs de sciences mentioned above, along with its underpinnings, i.e., the guiding principles connecting all four facets of the program. The plan also developed and presented goals and means (targets).

Administrative framework

In recent years, L’île du savoir assigned Éclairs de sciences to project developers who could achieve the objectives set out by the L’île du savoir board of directors. Between 2001 and 2005, the project was run by the Forum jeunesse de l’île de Montréal. Then in 2005, it was transferred to the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal (CRÉ). In July 2006, the Montreal Science Centre took over running the project. From July 2013 to June 2015, the program returned to the CRÉ de Montréal. Since June 2015, Éclairs de sciences has been run by Concertation Montréal.


Éclairs de sciences warmly thanks all of the partners who have made the program such a success.

An initiative of

Éclairs de sciences is a L’île du savoir and Concertation Montréal project.

Financial partner

The National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada provides funding for Éclairs de sciences.



The five Island of Montréal school boards (CSDM, EMSB, LBPSB, CSMB, and CSPI) work with Éclairs de sciences, in particular by providing human and pedagogical resources.


Some Eclairs de sciences activities were written by the Montréal Science Centre, Educavif, GUEPEles Neurones atomiques, and les Scientifines.


Montréal’s public libraries provided assistance in finding youth literature related to Éclairs de sciences activities.


The Centre de développement pédagogique pour la formation générale en science et technologie (CDP) developed the animated version of the active discovery process. It also assisted in developing and producing the updated poster version of the process.



Thank you to all of our volunteer science consultants, who provide support and guidance for elementary school teachers in preparing Éclairs de sciences activities.


The success of Éclairs de sciences depends on the work of many people. In addition to numerous volunteer science consultants, there are also pedagogical advisors who organize and provide teaching advice at meetings. School administrations also help by putting favourable conditions in place. And finally, there are all the teachers who give their time to this professional development program in order to vitalize their teaching of science and technology.