By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Students from Notre Dame Elementary School spent the past four weeks throwing rocks in Morinville without anyone raising an eyebrow. Grade 5 students from Dianne Hutton’s and Catherine Chan’s classes have been travelling to the Morinville Curling Club each week to learn a bit about the sport and about each other.
Teacher Dianne Hutton said as part of the school’s daily physical activities the school does offsite physical education with every grade. In the past, Grade 5 students have gone on a ski trip, but this year the teachers decided to keep the offsite activities a little closer to home.
“Skiing has gotten to be an exorbitant cost,” she said. “The affordability of curling and the fact that there is a youth program in Morinville is really a way to go. I think it’s going to be a great skill.”
Hutton said the students have evolved over the past four weeks in their curling skills and comfort level on the ice. “If you could have seen what they could not do the first week, including stepping on and off the ice,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
But the curling experience has done more than just provide the students with a fun afternoon away from school and some physical activity. Hutton said the four weeks have created positive interactions between the students as they cheer each other on learning the importance of sportsmanship.
The program has also tied into other subjects.
“They’ve been reading about the actual sport of curling,” Hutton said. “They’re making real connections. It’s really great.”
The sport has even made its way into the math class as the students learned about clockwise and counter clockwise in relation to the spin of the rock.
One student who benefited from that lesson and who has taken a shine to the game of curling over the past month is Marc Jestin.
“The four weeks have gone pretty nice,” Jestin said, adding some of the important curling skills he’d learned was throwing an in-turn and an out-turn. “My favourite part about curling would probably be sweeping. I get to move and I get to see where the rock goes.”
Each week Jestin and the 53 other students who participated in the program had the benefit of being taught by expert volunteers from the Morinville Curling Club.
One of those volunteers, Vera Nevue, said she was pleased with the students’ progress.
“They picked it up quick,” she said. “It’s wonderful. It brings them out to find out about curling and hopefully they’ll join the juniors.”