Pint-sized sailors tackle nautical challenge
PETES kids like ducks to water
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.