BROOKDALE – Winter’s just easier if you embrace it.
Some of Irene Legere’s Grade 4 students might agree with that sentiment. The teacher had her students out in Cumberland North Academy’s snow-covered playground to snowshoe Feb. 22. Healthy living and healthy eating is part of the Grade 4 curriculum, and snowshoeing fits.
“It’s quite adventurous,” said student Cameron Landry as he prepared to head out.
The boy observed that snowshoes add a whole new dimension to activities such as tag.
The school has two full class sets, according to principal Kathy Wells – 48 pairs in total.
“It’s to give kids a different experience,” said Wells.
The first class set was purchased by the school board two years ago and the second set was received this year. The funding came from an initiative called Health Promoting Schools, said the principal. They have two sizes for students.
“Teachers can take them out whenever they want,” she said.
The principal goes some of the time, too. She escorts two classes a week, taking seven weeks to get in an excursion for each class. The goal is to ensure each child gets at least one opportunity over the winter to try the equipment.
“They’re excited…there’s very few that don’t want to go,” she said.
Legere, the Grade 4 teacher, indicated snowshoeing was well within her comfort zone.
“I was a phys-ed teacher for 20 years,” she said. (At one point in her career she had to do without a gym – have phys-ed outside – for two months.)
The most recent chance for her kids to don snowshoes was the third time that winter for some and the second for others.
“I love it,” said Jay Gilroy, one of Legere’s pupils.
The boy said it was a chance to go outside and also miss class.
Jenna Clarke, also a student, called the snowshoes “really fun”.
“I like that you can walk on top of the snow and not fall through,” she said.
The principal, Wells, said the gear represents an opportunity for kids to try something they might not have access to at home. It’s a great family activity, according to the educator.