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Learn to Skate
As a strategy to foster access and physical activity for all children, students from inner city and under-served school communities receive the opportunity to visit Edmonton’s Downtown Community Arena to learn to skate. Funded by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, with support from the City of Edmonton, Ever Active Schools and Skate Canada, this project aims to remove the financial barrier of cost to access the Downtown Community Arena.
We were brought in to help find target schools that would most benefit from the program. Skate Canada delivers their CanSkate programming at the Downtown Community Arena, with the use of equipment and facilities graciously donated by the City of Edmonton.
Approximately 90% of students who have attended the Learn to Skate program to date were actually experiencing skating for the first time! This includes a number of new Canadian youth, many of whom had never seen ice or been to an arena. Overall, 3051 students between grades 1-9 from over 21 Edmonton schools have had the chance to participate and Learn to Skate since 2018.
All students learn fundamental movement skills on the ice, appropriate to their skill level, while improving their physical literacy for ice and snow environments. The program is accessible for students with a disability through the use of sleds. Students with intellectual disabilities, including Autism and behavioural challenges, can also participate and have had positive experiences.
During the 2019/2020 school year, we were able to purchase a class set of ice sleds. These sleds are accessible for any student who may need one so they are able to participate in the CanSkate lessons with their peers.
The sleds are also available for Sledge in Schools, a program led by Paralympic Sport Association. Sledge in Schools is a one-off experiential day, allowing students to understand the basics of sledge hockey. This program allows for many classes from each participating school to attend, both maximizing afternoon ice time through the Learn to Skate program and extending the project reach.