Six students from South Queens Junior High School in Liverpool and Liverpool Regional High School went to a skateboarding clinic to become certified to teach the sport to children as young as Grade Primary.
André Bouchard, physical activity capacity coordinator with the Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation Responsibility Centre of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, taught the course last Monday, May 4. The course is part of a program called Making Tracks.
“We start by putting the participants through the program as if they were the students learning how to do it,” says Bouchard.
Students who took the clinic last week started with the basics. They discussed the parts of a skateboard, how to fall safely, stances (regular or goofy) and where to place feet.
“Part one is modelling it, and part two is breaking it down,” adds Bouchard.
After going through the basics, students progressed to some more difficult skills, such as carving.
Bouchard says past clinics have gone “fantastically well.” He says the sessions tend to be especially fun for those who have less skateboarding experience.
“They surprise themselves,” he says. “They fall down a lot less than they thought they would, and everybody has a good time and learns something.”
Making Tracks is a program that aims to teach active-transportation safety to children and teenagers. Other forms of transportation the program trains people in are walking, cycling and in-line skating, says Jennifer McGowan, the mainland’s youth active transportation coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax.
The train-the-trainer model Bouchard uses to teach older students and adults how to skateboard and teach skateboarding, uses a program called Skate Pass. According to its website, the program has the mission of getting skateboarding into schools across the world.
McGowan says some of the reasons the Ecology Action Centre wants to promote active transportation include physical activity and the reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. She says the centre also wants to teach people who are sharing the roads using various modes of transportation, to commute safely together.
Last year, the physical education teacher at Elizabeth Sutherland School in Spryfield was trained and taught his students how to skateboard as part of physical education class. The Municipality of Clare Recreation Department has done all-girl Skate Pass sessions for the past few years, says McGowan.