Keep­ing kids ac­tive

Chil­dren at Gowrie School have lots of play plans for the sum­mer

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - Yvonne Kennedy Yvonne Kennedy is a re­tired teacher and a mem­ber of the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re gional School Board. She lives in Homeville and can be con­tacted at mlkenned@sea­

Did you no­tice that there are a lot of media ads on the topic of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for chil­dren ... or rather a lack of it?

There's the ad where the black­out screen keeps get­ting larger un­til it elim­i­nates the amount of time that chil­dren play out­side. Then there's another ad where the lit­tle boy knocks on another young­ster's door and says: “Wanna play.”

To many of us, get­ting enough phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for our chil­dren seems so sim­ple. Not so.

The an­nual re­port card on phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for youth and chil­dren has re­sults that should raise red flags for all of us. Cana­dian chil­dren have been given a D mi­nus for over­all phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. This is a very dis­tress­ing statis­tic.

To look at just one age cat­e­gory, only seven per cent of our five to 11-year-old chil­dren met the rec­om­mended guide­lines of 60 min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity daily. That means that 93 per cent of our young­sters are not get­ting enough phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

This doesn't bode well for their fu­ture health out­comes.

In what cat­e­gory does your child or grand­child fit?

Sum­mer means that chil­dren have more time on their hands so it pro­vides the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for chil­dren to get out­side and be­come more phys- ically ac­tive.

On one of the last days in June, I vis­ited Gowrie School in Port Morien. My three chil­dren were ed­u­cated in this small ru­ral school so I have many fond mem­o­ries of young chil­dren start­ing their ed­u­ca­tional jour­ney at this fa­cil­ity.

The Grade Pri­mary-1-2 stu­dents in Jas­min Collins class were look­ing for­ward to the sum­mer hol­i­days and the free­dom of not be­ing in school.

So my ques­tion to these young stu­dents was quite sim­ple ... “How are you go­ing to be phys­i­cally ac­tive over the sum­mer?”

Alexan­der Thomas is go­ing to have fun at the beach. Port Morien has two sandy beaches so that should be easy. He also en­joys rid­ing his bike and hav­ing races with his friends.

Carter Wad­den loves skate­board­ing as well as camp­ing with his fam­ily. His grand­fa­ther, Bobby Wad­den, has a pool that the neigh­bour­hood chil­dren en­joy. His older sis­ter, Alyssa, is part of the gang at her grand­fa­ther's pool. She en­joys rid­ing her bike and run­ning with her mother. Alyssa spends time play­ing with her cat, Mit­tens.

Vi­o­let Cun­ning­ham's fam­ily is plan­ning a P.E.I. va­ca­tion to en­joy the sandy beaches and the wa­ter parks. Her brother, Kae­dyn, wants to play dodge­ball and hockey as well as hide and seek with his friends.

Anna Mac­In­tosh is go­ing camp­ing with her fam­ily so she can play games with the other chil­dren and swim ev­ery day. Her younger sis­ter, Sara, will be play­ing with her friends out­side as well as swimming and hik­ing with her par­ents.

Kalen Spencer es­pe­cially en­joys go­ing to the beach on a rainy day. Jump­ing high on his trampoline is also part of Kalen's sum­mer plans.

Kerri McNeil en­joys go­ing on long walks with her mother and when the weather is sunny, she wants to go swimming. Her sis- ter, Olivia, wants to spend time play­ing with her dog and loves to ride her bike.

Is­abella Mur­rant will be part of the gang at Bobby Wad­den's pool. Sounds like fun.

Averie Ni­chol­son en­joys the wa­ter both at the beach and the pool (Bobby Wad­den's, of course). Play­ing tag with her friends is also a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity.

Claire Pem­ber­ton is look­ing for­ward to play­ing hop­scotch and skip­ping with her cousins. It's so good to see that chil­dren still en­joy old-fash­ioned play. Claire has a new bike that she will put to good use. Claire's brother, Sid­ney, will be hik­ing with his fa­ther, when he is not busy run­ning, swimming or play­ing base­ball.

This sum­mer, Rachel Hop­kins will be play­ing soc­cer and swimming at the beach. She likes play­ing out­side in the fresh air. Nathaniel MacIn­nis wants to master the skill of swimming with a snorkel. Cruz Bussey is look­ing for­ward to swimming at the wa­ter park. Matthew Snow will be found rid­ing his bike when he is not swimming.

These young stu­dents are sure to come back to school in Septem­ber full of energy and ready to learn.

But let's not use the word “school” over the sum­mer. Not un­less you want to be look­ing at a cranky face.

Just let them have fun.


The Grade Pri­mary-1-2 stu­dents at Gowrie School have plans for a busy sum­mer. Left to right, front row, Averie Ni­chol­son, Kaylen Spencer, Kerri McNeil, Sara Mac­In­tosh, Belle Mur­rant, Sid­ney Pem­ber­ton, Cruz Bussy; mid­dle row, Carter Wad­den, Olivia McNeil, Matthew Snow, Nathaniel MacIn­nis, Alexan­der Thomas, Vi­o­let Cun­ning­ham; back row, Anna Mac­In­tosh, Kae­dyn Cun­ning­ham, Alyssa Wad­den, Rachel Hop­kins, Claire Pem­ber­ton. Also in the class is Grade 1 stu­dent Olivia An­der­son.

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