Pint-si­zed sai­lors ta­ckle nau­ti­cal chal­lenge

PETES kids like ducks to wa­ter

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

It was smooth sai­ling for 120 grades 3 and 4 stu­dents from Pierre El­liott Tru­deau Ele­men­ta­ry School in Vau­dreuil-Do­rion this week and last when they em­bar­ked on a wa­ter-ba­sed edu­ca­tion in Vau­dreuil Bay.

Tea­cher Marie-Anne Por­te­lance said kids from her class, as well as two other classes, took two and th­ree day ini­tia­tion to sai­ling courses at Club nau­tique Deux-Mon­tagnes, lo­ca­ted inVau­dreuil-sur-le-Lac.

“It was won­der­ful,” Por­te­lance said, ad­ding, “The kids lear­ned to ba­lance, how to go down wind, how to paddle.... Some of the kids were even able to sail on their own at the end of the th­ree days.”

Por­te­lance pro­po­sed the idea be­cause she thinks it’s im­por­tant for kids from the region to be ca­pable and com­for­table around wa­ter.

“We are sur­roun­ded by wa­ter here, so it’s a mat­ter of sa­fe­ty but it can al­so be a ter­ri­fic way to en­joy being out­side and being ac­tive,” she said, ad­ding she was sur­pri­sed to learn some chil­dren at the school don’t know­how­to swim.

Tea­cher Ca­thy Ro­berts, a self-des­cri­bed “land lo­ver”, says she was ama­zed at how qui­ck­ly stu­dents lear­ned.

“Some of my shyest stu­dents real­ly did great and gai­ned so much confi­dence be­cause of it,” she said. “One boy, who loves ho­ckey more than any­thing, said sai­ling was even bet­ter than ho­ckey,” she ad­ded with a laugh.

Both tea­chers prai­sed staff at the sai­ling school that al­ways put sa­fe­ty first.

“Each child wore a life vest and they on­ly spent time in the bayw­here staff (in se­pa­rate boats) gave them ins­truc­tions and wat­ched them,” Ro­berts no­ted.

Af­ter a day of theo­ry, chil­dren were out­fit­ted with their own ti­ny sai­ling ves­sels where they lear­ned to hoist sails, steer and control the crafts in wa­ter.

And as a re­sult of the les­sons, some stu­dents have si­gned on for fur­ther sum­mer sai­ling ins­truc­tions.

Por­te­lance says she hopes to conti­nue the pro­gram next year and would like to in­clude more grades in the ef­fort.

Stu­dents from Ca­thy Ro­berts grade 3 class lear­ned to sail this week.

Pint-si­zed sai­lors were able to control their own crafts.

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