For elementary students Emma and Noah, developing leadership skills and increasing inclusivity among their peers is an important part of their school experience.
This is why they were excited to attend last week’s Raise The Bar
conference, which taught students how they can create inclusive intramural sporting programs at their schools.
“I thought it would be a cool experience to see how schools are organizing their intramural sports,” says Emma, a Grade 7 student at Aldershot School in Burlington. “I can help other students by demonstrating proper behaviour and help them get better at a sport.”
Noah, a Grade 7 student at Silver Creek Public School in Georgetown, says he wanted to “gain more knowledge” on how to be an effective leader.
“I like the idea of younger students looking up to me and saying, “Wow, he's doing something good and I want to do what he does.”
Raise The Bar was held on Thursday, Oct. 25 at St. Volodymyr's Church in Oakville, where more than 200 students, representing 43 schools, attended. The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (Ophea) created this initiative and shared it with school boards.
Paralympian Jeff Adams delivered an inspirational message to the group about achieving excellence through inclusion, diversity, teamwork and acceptance.
Tanya Woods, Instruction Program Leader for the Halton District School Board, says Raise The Bar is an effective initiative to cultivate student leadership, help students understand the importance of physical education through play and exchange ideas about how to implement intramural sports at school.
“We see this as a great opportunity to increase awareness around intramurals and hopefully target schools looking for leadership opportunities for their students.”
The packed day of learning included students brainstorming what an inclusive intramural program looks like; taking part in an inclusive activity run by Ophea staff members; and visiting nearby elementary schools where they took part in intramural games led by Board teachers.
Raise The Bar shows students that intramural sports are a great way to increase inclusivity in their school while developing key leadership skills, Woods says.
“The goal is for students to learn ideas and activities they can use to either begin or augment their intramural program,” she says. “They see the value in how inclusive intramurals can be, that they don't have to be sport specific or cater to elite athletes, and they can be fun and give students opportunities to expend energy during the school day.”