One of the many amazing benefits of being located on a country campus - just a few minutes south of Calgary - is the ability to integrate winter activities into our student’s everyday lives and education. Cross-country skiing is part of the physical education curriculum at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School and students use the campus as a tool for physical activity and learning beginning in Grade 1. Our students are able to put their boots on, head straight out the doors at the south end of the building and enjoy the snow, bright sunshine and fresh air. Elementary students also have the option to join the cross-country ski club as an on-campus co-curricular activity.
Kim Milne, a Grade 5 teacher at STS, recently went on her first cross-country ski trip on the STS campus and shared her experience: "I joined the Cross-Country Ski Club on Tuesdays after school. There were over 30 students participating on this particular evening and they were joined by several parents who came out to enjoy our country campus. It took us just moments to assemble because we literally ski right out our door. We split into three ability-based groups and set out on different paths. We skied in the ravine on the paths amidst the trees. The kids were laughing and talking along the way as they practiced their cross country skiing skills and enjoyed being outdoors. We skied right over to the Outdoor Education building at the end of our session. This was a great way to end the school day – how lucky am I to be able to ski right where I work!”
Our country campus offers many opportunities to weave subject-related learning experiences into the fabric of classroom activities. Students search for animal tracks and plants as part of science, and use the expansive surrounding forests, fields and marshes to aid in their learning. Cross-country skiing is a great way for students to learn the benefits of lifelong physical activity and to explore the campus in wintertime.
Perhaps the students themselves say it best. These words are from Grade 5 students Alix, Kiyan and Ally. “We had lots of fun cross-country skiing and seeing amazing sites such as deer tracks and deer. We learned how to stride and glide and how to hold our poles right. Sometimes we’d sing songs like popular tunes. The Grade 5 students enjoyed going through the forest and going down hills. A big challenge for us was going uphill, but we always enjoy a hard challenge!"