Win 4 Kids Finalist- Hugh Cairns V. C. School

Hugh_Cairns_School_Photo-_600px.jpgExpanding and enriching the physical education program for students in kindergarten to grade 6 is the goal of Hugh Cairns V.C. School in Saskatoon.

Teacher Daryl Lesyshyn introduced Fun Fit Fridays to give students a chance to try fitness activities like yoga or spin classes, and hear about wellness subjects most had never heard of before.

“Fun Fit Fridays is intended to provide something to inspire each student to continue a physically active lifestyle. By trying new things, our students are developing not only better physical skills but social, emotional and personal skills as well. This is especially valuable for the students in the Functioning Life Skills class, who have various degrees of physical and cognitive challenges. The program instils an attitude that physical wellness is a lifelong journey to be enjoyed,” said Lesyshyn.

Community partnerships allow students to try new activities such as yoga, wheelchair basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and dance.  Students also learn more about nutrition and how to prepare healthy snacks. The goal is for each student to find an activity they love and would like to do again.

The school has offered Fun Fit Fridays at other grade levels, with strong results. The program helps build a “family” atmosphere at the school that makes learning fun and creates lasting friendships.  It also echoes the school’s physical education motto: Making our hearts happy.

“By showing at school that being active can be fun, entertaining and creative, the students can take what they have learned in class to their families and share with them how to be physically active for life,” Lesyshyn added.

Additional funding for Fun Fit Fridays would be used to support more school-wide activities, including special wellness events where students learn from health experts and take part in fitness activities within the community. Funding will enable the school to reach more students and provide new experiences that encourage them to embrace physical activity.

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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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