Grade 3 students at École Crescentview School have been taking to the ice as their school teaches them to embrace their Canadian roots.
Physical Education teacher Kirk Botterill explains that every year around Christmas, since 2015, he and the school take students to Stride Place for skating lessons.
"We have six Grade 3 classes, so they each get to go skating between four to six times," says Botterill enthusiastically. "Every year, there are lots of new skaters and different skaters. This year in particular, because we haven't done it for three years, we had lots of first-time skaters."
The Physical Education teacher says that because of the lag from COVID, there are plenty of push carts and a fair share of experienced skaters.
"The nicest part about it is all the kids themselves that are skaters, they see the ones that need a little bit of help, and they are all out there to help them a lot. So, lots of encouragement by their classmates and cooperation."
Botterill says he believes that these skating lessons are about getting out of school and doing something in the community as a part of their physical education curriculum.
"Another reason why we do it at this time is that our stage gets put up for our Christmas concert. So, this is a good time for us to go."
Botterill adds that he grew up in a hockey family, so helping kids improve their skating skills is something he describes as a phenomenal feeling.
"It's just the smile on their faces that makes it so satisfying for me as a teacher."
He notes that two groups of Grade 3 students get 45-minute sessions for six skates. After the first two skates, the teachers gauge where the skaters are and give them some instruction based on that.
"Every year, I look forward to it in December. It's like a Christmas gift to these kids to give them something different, and it's something that I like to do, and I've always liked to do."