By Tricia Kennedy
Thursday, Jan. 9 was an exciting day as students from The Renaissance School ventured outdoors into the crisp and sunny winter air. The recent snowfall proved to be the perfect weather to integrate snowshoeing and cross country skiing into the Shelburne Farm-based elementary school’s physical education curriculum. Students and teachers alike were thrilled to enjoy this unique outdoor opportunity to keep active during the winter months.
Avid skier and Heartworks Burlington Director, Kathleen Schaffner, led each group of children through various age-appropriate ski maneuvers, focusing on guiding the younger children and first time skiers towards independently getting up from a fall. Other topics covered were pushing off, poling, edging, skidding, snowplowing, and stopping. While the beginner, younger children made simple loops around the farm courtyard, the older and more experienced skiers ventured out into the woods and trails behind the barn.
Founder of The Heartworks and Renaissance Schools, Louise Piche, commented that, “we are so happy to provide students with this opportunity to try something new and adventurous, especially cross country skiing, which may very well lead to a life-long sport for some.”
Each group of rosy-cheeked children came inside giggling and chatting animatedly about their experiences. (And many gleefully reported on the number of falls they had taken!) As the temperatures rose later in the week and the snow began to melt, snow dances were observed among the classrooms at Renaissance as the students anticipated going cross-country skiing together again.