The CEPP: A cultural and multicultural daycare

The CEPP was founded by Marcel and Louise Lavallée in the late sixties (1967-68). It was located in the basement of a building south of the Saint Joachim church where the Manoir Saint Joachim is now located. The Centre d’Expérience préscolaire et parascolaire (CEPP) opened its doors to little Francophones on January 2, 1973 at 9904 110th Street.

It is thanks to the research, hard work and efforts of Louise Lavallée, Dolores Cadrin and Adèle Fontaine that the CEPP was created. The goals of the CEPP according to its founding members were: “to establish and maintain a daycare centre that would meet the physical, intellectual, emotional, and sociocultural needs of Edmonton’s Franco-Canadian children; to make this daycare center a center of Franco-Canadian culture (…)“.

The CEPP offers services in French to Edmonton families from all over the world (Europe, Quebec, Eastern Canada, Africa, Asia…)

It is thanks to the support of some influential members of the Edmonton francophone community such as Mr. Jean Patoine, Mr. Guy Lacombe and others, that the CEPP was born. It is also thanks to the hard work of many parent volunteers over the years that CEPP continues to provide excellent services to our clientele.

CEPP at the service of Edmonton’s francophone community

For the first 20 years of its existence, CEPP was the only francophone daycare centre West of Manitoba.

The centre began its operations in the basement of the Convent of the Faithful Companions in St. Joachim Parish.

The CEPP grew from eleven children at its opening to eighteen children by the end of the year.

Moreover, in 1974 we had to look for another location because the convent had to be destroyed. An agreement was reached with the Oblates in September 1974. The CEPP thus opened a branch at Collège St-Jean. The new center could receive about forty children while the CEPP St-Joachim continued to offer its services to a total of twenty children until its demolition.

The 2000s

For several years now, the CEPP preschool has had its own premises in the Gabrielle-Roy public school. We have five large rooms that allow us to offer 80 places for children between 12 months and 5 years old. We also offer 40 spaces in our before and after school care.

Since 2016, CEPP has opened before- and after-school care at Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, Père-Lacombe and Notre-Dame Francophone schools.

CEPP has three additional sites in St. Albert. These three sites offer 59 preschool spaces and 30 after-school spaces at La Mission School.

We are pleased with the expansion of the organization in the francophone community of Alberta.

The CNPF Award

On November 21, 2020, the FPFA presented the Parents’ Award to the CEPP for the opening of the La Belle Nature daycare in St. Albert. This award recognizes one of the FPFA’s members for their contribution to the development of Francophone education in their community.

The growing demand from francophone families in the Edmonton area for francophone childcare spaces led the parents’ committee to make the decision to open a new site in St. Albert. This project took a lot of time to locate a space, find money, and get started.

  • Finding a space: May 31, 2019
  • Ownership of space: July 1, 2019
  • Start of construction: July 29, 2019
  • Completion: September 28, 2019
  • Team starts: September 12 and 13, 2019
  • Daycare opening: October 1, 2019
  • Grand opening event: October 23


Attending Francophone daycare allows children to experience early socialization in a French-language facility. Along with the child’s family, the daycare is an important place for socialization. These contacts in French at a young age have a particular influence on the process of building a child’s identity: “one is not born a Francophone, one becomes one.” The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada maintains that although preschool programs are not covered by section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they play a key role in achieving the objectives of that section. Early childhood is a critical time for parents to decide whether to enrol a child in a Francophone school. The infrastructure in place for early childhood services has a direct impact on the path of Francophone children who are entitled to attend a French-language school. “Daycares and early childhood and family centers are real nurseries that feed into minority Francophone schools.”

This is why the opening of this new Francophone learning and childcare center in St. Albert will allow many children to grow up in French, to build their Francophone identity and thus prepare them to integrate a Francophone school when the time comes, but it also prepares the parent for this idea. Having a francophone daycare is an incomparable tool for recruiting students to francophone schools.