More than 100 children at Welborne Avenue Public School are learning how to skate thanks to a pilot project initiated by the Kingston Skating Academy.
Chief instructor Sharon Nixon believes every child should have the opportunity to learn this active Canadian pastime.
She saw the need and approached the Limestone District School Board with the idea.
“The K.S.A. was formed in 2018 and we’ve tried to bring some new programs to the area,” said Nixon, a longtime figure skating coach in the Limestone City.
Nixon says the pilot project brings schoolchildren in grades 1, 2 and 3 to the rink for their physical activity period to learn how to skate. Skates and helmets are provided.
“Most of these kids are on skates for the very first time,” Nixon said. “We teach the basics, like balance, agility and control. We hope it leads to whatever sport they enjoy the most. Learning the basics will help in the future with hockey, figure skating or speed skating.”
The program has been met with tremendous enthusiasm and support from the school board, students and their parents.
“I think it’s an excellent program,” said Dan Coveney.
“My eight-year-old son Issac has autism and he’s having an amazing time. It helps with his co-ordination and strength. Issac has so much energy, so this gives him another avenue to spend that energy on the ice. He can then go back to school and have a more productive day. My son is really benefiting from this wonderful program. I see a real improvement in him both on and off the ice.”
The four-week pilot project at the Centre 70 Arena will end on Wednesday.
Nixon says the academy is off to Napanee next week to start with another school.
“Were Canadian, and we all should have the opportunity to learn how to skate,” Nixon said.
“It’s an activity that builds a child’s confidence, endurance, strength and self-esteem. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. It’s wonderful to see it coming to fruition.”