Win 4 Kids Finalist- Forest Glen School

Antigonish_Baseball_Assoc_Photo-_600pxl.jpgInspired by Eric Jensen’s book Teaching with Poverty in Mind they recognize that physical activities like climbing, traversing and hanging on a climbing wall can support memory function and help children from lower income families with learning and brain development.

“Research shows that physical activity, in particular the hand-over-hand action used in climbing, helps develop the brain. Studies also show that climbing uses both sides of the brain and thus helps develop new neural pathways, which are essential in learning. Based on this research, we know that physical activity can help a child reach their full potential and help with academic success,” said Krista Richard, the physical education teacher at Forest Glen School.

The school currently runs a Kids in Action program every morning before school starts. As part of the program, students are encouraged to walk, jog and skip rope. Focusing on the hand-over-hand action, the school also has a climbing wall that four students can use at a time.

With funding from GoodLife Kids Foundation, the school plans to build climbing, hanging and traversing stations around the gym to accommodate as many as 300 students. Richard says she also plans to teach students how to safely use the new wall climbing areas and encourage them during breaks throughout the day.

The goal is to provide students with fun physical activities that help develop healthier bodies and healthier minds.” 

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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