Nearly 160 students from MacLeod Public School picked up a broom — the majority of them for the first time — during school last week.
They raced each other, seeing who could sweep the floor clean the fastest.
When they finished sweeping, they threw some rocks around, too.
But their lesson wasn’t in cleaning, it was an introduction to a favourite Canadian pastime — curling.
After four years of growth across the country, the Capital One Rocks and Rings elementary school curling program made its debut in northern Ontario at the Laval Street school.
The program, which was developed by Rock Solid Productions Inc. of Toronto, has introduced the Olympic sport of curling to more than 160,000 Canadian students, and continues to expand its reach. The program makes learning about curling easy, by bringing customized equipment into schools for day-long visits, where trained instructors deliver a high-energy, interactive and educational program focused on the basics of the sport.
“We teach the kids about curling ... on a floor surface, so we can bring everything to the school and teach over 250 students about curling in a day,” Jillian Mouzar, program co-ordinator of Rock Solid Productions, said. “The awesome thing about the program is that it’s affordable for the schools — it’s $150 for the day — and (the students) get to learn about basically a new sport.”
Grade 4 students at MacLeod Public School were among the first in Sudbury to be introduced to the Capital One Rocks and Rings elementary school curling program. More than 160 students at the school were introduced to the sport Nov. 22. Photo by Laurel Myers.
While curling is growing in popularity, Mouzar said the goal of the program is to influence the younger generations to take up the sport.
“Hopefully we spark enough interest in them to want to join a curling club and become curlers and become the future of the sport,” she said.
Roma Lundgren, Region 5 representative for the Northern Ontario Curling Association (NOCA), said the Rocks and Rings program is “a fun and exciting way for kids to be exposed to the sport of curling.”
“You’re never too young to start curling,” she said. “We have Little Rock programs at the curling rinks with four- and five-year-olds.”
Grade 4 students Austin Gladu and Ryley Borkovich had never curled before last week. But after taking part in the games, both said they’d like to curl for real one day.
“I like sweeping,” Gladu said. “There’s a rock and you have to sweep really fast and the rock goes fast. I’m pretty excited if I ever joined curling.”
“I think it’s pretty fun because when you hit it, you’re like, ‘is it going to get in, is it going to get in?’” Borkovich said.
Jacqueline Wealleans, a fourth-year Laurentian University student in the sports administration program, will be the instructor for northern Ontario, covering the Sudbury and North Bay regions. She said she joined the program to expand her knowledge of the sport, and share that information with the elementary students.
“I never got this when I was in elementary school,” she said. “Hopefully (I can) encourage them to join a new sport.”
Area schools can inquire about Rocks and Rings by contacting Abbie Darnley at 416-951-6017 or [email protected] or visit rocksandrings.com.
Posted by Laurel Myers