The English Montreal School Board’s B.A.S.E. (Before and After School Enriched) Daycare Program kicked off its first-ever B.A.S.E. BOKS Contest in seven school daycares on January 18, 2022. The goal of the three-month competition was two-fold: To get children ages 4—12 years old physically active as often as possible and to encourage the daycare educators to animate different games that keep physical activity fun and engaging!
The grand prize up for grabs was a BOKS kit of physical activity equipment from a local supplier valued at $400 and a visit from Kim St. Pierre, the Manager of Business Development for BOKS Canada. Kim also oversees all BOKS schools in Quebec. In addition, Kim was a member of Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team as goaltender from 1998 until 2011 and is a three-time Olympic Gold medalist.
Participation in the contest was voluntary. Participating daycares included Leonardo Da Vinci Academy, Gerald McShane, Cedarcrest, Parkdale, Edinburgh, St. Gabriel and Westmount Park.
The daycare educators used four BOKS resources during the contest and animated the games in three different settings: schoolyard, classroom and gymnasium. Students participated in the BOKS activities in the morning before school started, during the lunch hour and after school. The number of different BOKS activities animated equaled the number of entries into the contest. Daycare educators submitted pictures as proof of participation.
In January, the daycare educators facilitated the BOKS Recess Cards games outdoors when the weather permitted. These games were quick to animate and play and required very little, to no equipment. This resource was a favorite amongst many!
In February, the competition required more commitment! Daycare educators were encouraged to animate games from the Are You Game? booklet in the classrooms. Although this resource is loads of fun—it requires time to prep the materials. In order to keep staff and students motivated, two photo submissions per activity were accepted: one photo of the game materials being prepped and one photo of the students participating in the activity. The daycares got competitive and didn’t give up on the chance for bonus entries!
Educator workload eased up in March with the Break the Ice booklet. Between gaining momentum in the contest and getting back to simpler activities, the educators and students in some of the daycares completed all the activities in this resource before the month was up. Therefore, for the final sprint of the contest, the staff and students were allowed to use BOKS Bursts and bank in as many participations as they possibly could.
A participation tracker was sent to all the daycares at the end of each month. It motivated the staff and students to keep moving!
The highlight of this contest: 40 daycare educators from seven school daycares animated 1,287 BOKS activities with approximately 700 students in Pre-K to Grade 6 over a three-month period.
Due to the disparity in the number of participations between the daycares, two categories were created. During a virtual meeting with all participating daycares, Leonardo Da Vinci Academy B.A.S.E. Daycare was randomly chosen as the Grand Champion of the B.A.S.E. BOKS Contest. They competed against Gerald McShane and Edinburgh B.A.S.E. Daycares in the category 300—700 participations. Cedarcrest B.A.S.E. Daycare is the Winner for the category of 1-50 participations. They competed against Parkdale, St. Gabriel and Westmount Park B.A.S.E. Daycares. With a generous donation of new and second-hand gym equipment that came through during the contest, all daycares were able to receive a BOKS prize pack of different values. The Grand Champion still received the $400 worth of brand-new gym equipment.
In addition, Kim St. Pierre will be visiting the top-three performing daycares: Leonardo Da Vinci (677 activities), Edinburgh (322 activities) and Gerald McShane (319 activities). She will speak with the students and participate in BOKS activities with them.
Apart from having a tremendous amount of fun while improving physical activity levels, the daycare educators and students are now more familiar with the BOKS program and the possibilities of getting physically active! Large spaces and lots of time aren’t necessary to get active. Physical activity can happen in as little as five minutes and in as constrained a space as a classroom. In addition, the handmade activity props coupled with the equipment prize packs makes for really feasible BOKS Toolkits that can be used to keep physical activity fun and engaging throughout the school year!
We encourage everyone to try out a BOKS contest in their communities!
Jennifer De Freitas
Project Development Officer
B.A.S.E. Daycare Program, English Montreal School Board