Move Your School with BOKS – A Contest Case Study

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 PREPARATION

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 OUTCOME

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.

THE IMPACT

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

Summer with BOKS

With summer approaching, are you thinking of new, inventive ways to keep your kids active? Looking for fresh curriculum ideas for summer camp? Or simply looking for ways to keep your kids, along with those kids in the neighborhood, active in fun, easy to implement ways? 

Explore our BOKS resources below to help you reach your goal of planning a day, a week or a month worth of activities to keep your kids/group having fun and being active over the summer months.

BOKS Bursts

If you aren’t familiar with BOKS Bursts, they are short movement breaks designed to keep kids moving throughout the school day and beyond. Bursts are a perfect option to get kids up and moving for short bursts of activity. In addition to written instructions, there are videos to show you how the Burst works. Check out these partner and group bursts to integrate into your summer schedule. 

Partner Scarf Toss & Catch

Materials: Scarves
Directions:
1. Distribute one scarf per pair of kids, have kids stand 1 meter (3 feet) away from each other.
2. Have kids toss the scarf back and forth to one another, with partners mirroring each other, each round switching their method of throwing.
  • Toss with dominant hand and partner catches with dominant hand.
  • Toss then spin in a circle as partner spins in a circle and catches scarf.
  • Toss then perform one burpee as partner performs one burpee and catches scarf.
3. Have kids get creative and perform different movements after throwing the scarf to their partner (e.g., donkey kicks, tuck jump).
Variations/Challenges: Instead of throwing and catching with dominant hand, have kids throw and catch with their non-dominant hand.

Pool Noodle Timber

Materials: Pool noodles (one per kid).

Directions:

1. Kids break up into groups of two to five. Each kid gets their own noodle.

2. Depending on the number in the group, and various skill levels, the kids in each group stand a set distance from one another holding their noodle upright with one end resting on the floor.

3. Based on the numbers, the trainer will pre-determine where each kid will be moving to when the game starts.

4. On the “go” cue, kids leave their noodles, trying to keep them standing by releasing and moving away quickly. They will then run to another noodle, attempting to grasp it before it falls to the floor. They will then repeat the action by moving to the next designated spot, and so on. Variations/Challenges:

  • Variations may include allowing the kids to plan the order of movements. A more complex version may involve crossing over the middle to the next spot instead of in a circular motion. Kids may use hula hoops instead of noodles. Depending on the skill level, hula hoops can be spun so that they remain upright like a top. This can involve playing the game over greater distances.

Elementary & Middle School Physical Activity Plans

Within our Physical Activity Plans you will find fun ideas for relay races and obstacle courses both of which are fun, engaging ways to get kids moving. An example of each is below.

Obstacle Course

Materials: Mat (if available), jump ropes, cones.

Set Up:

Place tumbling mat at start of course.

  • Line up jump ropes 10 feet beyond the mat.
  • Set up two cones about ten feet apart so that you’ve reached the other side of gym/field area.
  • Line up four cones close together.
  • Place one more cone about 1/2 way down gym/field area.
  • Kid starts by doing a forward roll onto the mat.
  • Then runs to jump rope and jumps five times.
  • Then does bear crawl between cones to end of gym/field area.
  • Do one cartwheel at cone and sprint back to end of line.

Relay Race

Just jumping Challenge (jumping jacks, squat jumps, tuck jumps)

Set Up: Two cones per team, place cones at start and end of gym/field area.

  • Kid does three jumping jacks.
  • Broad jump to end cone.
  • Three squat jumps.
  • Sprint back to the start and do three tuck jumps.
  • Next kid begins.

Summer Fun Pack

The BOKS Summer Fun Pack is a 50+ page document with a host of activities that will keep kids active and engaged throughout the summer months. It is complete with recipes, crafts, games, BOKS Bursts, and physical activity plans. 

Now that you have an idea of some BOKS resources you can access to get kids moving this summer, take the following next steps to help pull together a fun summer activity plan.

1.Identify your group. Students, campers or out of school attendees, at home kids.

2. Plan your activities. For summer camps or working parents, a set plan of activities will help create a routine for the kids. Kids tend to respond well to a daily routine as they know what to expect as the days and weeks go on. After looking through the above resources on the BOKS Trainer Hub you can use our summer planning page to outline a day at camp or simply plan out a day’s worth of activities for you kids and their friends.

3. Be sure to motivate and challenge your group. Inspire them to move, be active and have fun.One of the best ways to motivate kids is to get in there and participate with them. Modeling is a great way to get involved and show kids that the activities are great for all.

4. Keep it fun. Keep it positive! It is important to create a safe and supportive space where kids are comfortable trying new things. Create an environment where the kids want to come back for more!

Heather Chase

BOKS Team

HOW MINDFULNESS CAN IMPROVE YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH

mental healthWhen you hear the word “healthy,” what do you think of? Maybe you imagine broccoli or push-ups, running or spinach. But do you think about your mind? The truth is, overall health includes both body and mind, and we can’t be truly healthy unless we’re taking care of our thought patterns and mental wellness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on what you’re sensing and feeling in the present moment, without passing any judgment or allowing interruptions. Its practice has rapidly gained popularity after a barrage of studies show that mindfulness can reduce anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression[1]. But does it work for everyone?

The answer is, YES! From children to elders, mindfulness has been proven to change the way the brain functions. It impacts the areas of the brain that control learning and memory, regulation of emotions, and the ability to understand different perspectives[2]. Children who have been exposed to trauma or significant life challenges stand to benefit from this practice even more, as mindfulness can have a particularly positive impact on developing brains.

Perhaps the best news is that this practice does not require a significant time investment. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes to start to feel the positive impacts of mindfulness. As an added bonus, this is something that can be done independently or in a group – families may find that making mindfulness a daily routine can help to bring a few minutes of calm to everyone’s life.

Examples of Mindfulness Activities

So, what exactly does mindfulness look like? While you might think of traditional meditation – sitting still with your eyes closed – that’s just one of many options you could choose to practice mindfulness. This practice can also be done while walking, laying down, inside or outside, and at any time of the day. Fortunately, BOKS, a free physical activity program for kids and families, has just launched a new Mindfulness & Movement Flows resource designed to take the planning out of mindfulness activities. Created by fitness instructors, this resource contains 25 short activities, ranging from 5 – 10 minutes in length, that all include a follow-along video. These activities are grouped into 5 categories:

  • Breathing – Focus on controlling and adjusting your breath.
  • Mindfulness Meditation – Tune into your surroundings and be aware of all that’s around you.
  • Movement Flows – Practice different movements, focusing on your balance.
  • Stretching – Be aware of your body and how different stretches impact different muscles.
  • Gratitude – Let go of your emotions and stressors by focusing on what you’re grateful for.

     

    To get the most out of your mindfulness activities, try taking them outside into your local park, backyard, or neighborhood. Research indicates that mindfulness has a far superior impact when practiced in a natural environment, away from artificial noises and distractions[1]. The great outdoors provides natural mental stimulation, which decreases the likelihood of a wandering mind. This contributes to the goal of focusing on the present without letting intrusive thoughts interrupt and provides support to those who may be new to mindfulness.

    Time to Jump into Mindfulness

    Now that you understand the benefits of mindfulness and how simple it is to practice, why not give it a try? Head outside and allow yourself to focus on your breathing, your surroundings, or your body. If you want additional guidance, sign up for BOKS HERE for free to download Mindfulness & Movement Flows and simply follow along with the videos.

    When you’ve tried your first mindfulness exercise, come back and let us know how it made you feel! And remember, mindfulness is not a competition – practice at your own pace, and soon enough, your mental and physical health will thank you.

    [1] Mayo Clinic. (2020). Mindfulness exercises. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356#:~:text=Mindfulness%20is%20a%20type%20of,mind%20and%20help%20reduce%20stress.
    [2] Hozel, B., et al. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36-43. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S092549271000288X
    [3] Djernis, D., et al. (2019). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Nature-Based Mindfulness: Effects of Moving Mindfulness Training into an Outdoor Natural Setting. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(17), 3202. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/17/3202/htm

     

    SHEA PEASE

    BOKS Team

BUILDING POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH

mindfulnessWe are coming up on a year since we first went into lockdown due to the coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, mental health and maintaining positive mental health has been a top priority as we all navigate the constant pressure and stress that this situation has created. At BOKS, we are grateful for all that our trainers do to keep their kids moving and helping to support their mental health through movement. We hope this article allows you some insight as you focus on your own mental health and well-being.

Mental health- what is it?

Often, mental health is used synonymously with mental illness- but the truth is, they are two sides of the same coin. While approximately one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, ALL Canadians have mental health (CMHA, 2020). Mental health is a state of well-being, and just like physical health, isn’t just about the absence of illness. It’s important to create environments in which we, and those around us, can thrive rather than just simply survive through all life’s unexpected twists and turns! Here are a few things that signal your mental health is on track (CMHA, 2020):

  • You feel a sense of purpose.
  • Your relationships feel strong.
  • You feel connected to others.
  • You have a good sense of self.
  • You are able to cope with stress.
  • You are able to enjoy life.

This year has surely put our mental health to the test, as this prolonged state of uneasiness continues to linger. In order to be in a position to support those around us (students, family, friends, etc.), we first need to ensure we’re taking care of ourselves! We risk burning out if we continue to fill the proverbial cups around us while ours remains empty.

What can we do to maintain a healthy mind?

There are a huge variety of ways to support our own mental health, as well as the mental health of those we care about. It’s important to recognize that each persons’ mental health journey is unique, and strategies to maintain a healthy mind will be very individualized. Generally, there are some things we can do to create a healthy environment for healthy minds to THRIVE:

  • TALK ABOUT IT- why mental health AND physical health both matter. What being mentally healthy looks like. If it lives in the peripheries then we’re never able to fully prioritize our mental well-being.
  • Normalize expressing feelings- it’s so important! If this is a new process for you, try a Feelings Wheel to help label the emotion appropriately. Getting into the practice of naming our feelings can help us work through them in a much more positive way. It also helps to eliminate any shame around negative feelings that may creep in!Move your body! In whatever way feels right for you- go for a walk, stretch on the floor, dance to your favourite song, pick up heavy things and put them back down, just get your body moving. It does so much good for our brains! 
  • Do things that bring joy! Read, write, call a friend and catch up. Connect to the things that make you feel most YOU.  

It will take some time to figure out exactly what helps maintain your own mental health, but it’s time well spent!  

How to identify if you’re mental health is being impacted.  

The tough thing about mental health is that it isn’t always easy to determine when it’s being negatively impacted. How do we draw a line between mental health and mental illness? It won’t be the same for everyone, but here are a few things that might signal your mental health is starting to decline (American Psychiatry Association, 2018):  

  • Significant shifts in your sleep or appetite. 
  • Dramatic mood swings.  
  • Withdrawal or loss of interest in activities.  
  • Drop in functioning.  
  • Problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought.  
  • Increased sensitivity.  
  • Apathy.  
  • Feeling disconnected.  
  • Constant feelings of nervousness.  

If you’re experiencing any of these feelings, it’s important to have some strategies or supports in place. That might look like a trusted friend to talk to, a support line, or seeking support from a professional.  

Mental wellness is not just an individual responsibility- it’s a community responsibility. Our mental health is impacted through every interaction we have, and so the responsibility is shared by all. Good mental health has to be role modeled, actioned across different spaces (school, work, home), and woven into all conversations about wellness. Mental health is all about resiliency, confidence, and connection (CMHA, 2020), and we deserve to thrive mentally as well as physically!   

Resources  

https://cmha.ca/blogs/mental-health-what-is-it-really 
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/warning-signs-of-mental-illness

LAUREN HUTCHISON, BOKS TEAM 

STEAM YOUR WAY INTO A BOKS CLASS – GET MOVING WHILE INTRODUCING STEAM CONCEPTS!

STEAM formerly known as STEM is an approach to learning that incorporates science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, across the curriculum. Educators throughout the world are using STEAM concepts in their classrooms. These concepts are helping to promote problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more. These concepts are just as useful in our BOKS classes as they are in the traditional content areas. Check out some fun ways to bring STEAM into a BOKS class:

Science

Science is all about experimentation and observation. The way that we move can be observed by ourselves and others.

  • Have kids do star jumps as if they are lava rocks erupting from a volcano.
  • Even simple movements like turning in a circle can introduce basic science concepts.

Technology

Do you have access to a smartphone or some form of pedometer? This technology is quite easy to blend with physical activity.

  • If kids have access to pedometers have them track their steps over a given week. Do they get more steps during a school day or on the weekends?
  • Of course, I will give a plug to our BOKS Bursts which arguably are a use of technology to get kids moving. Just by clicking on a burst in our monthly calendar is using technology to get kids moving, or watching a BOKS Burst video.

Engineering

Engineering is about bringing new ideas to life. BOKS kids are always creating new games and ways of doing things. Often the best games and activities are the ones that happen organically.

  • Challenge your BOKS kids to create a new game. Break them into groups and allow them two or three pieces of equipment and see what each group comes up with. I guarantee the game will be different for each group, but the one thing they will all have in common is that they will be fun and inventive.

Art

The Arts bring out the creative expression in all of us. Dance, color, music, words and expressions are all modes that we can be creative in.

  • Let kids create their own dances to a song, play a game of charades and let the kids bring new ideas to life.
  • Kids can use their arms as paint brushes and use movement to get creative.

Math

Math is probably the easiest connection between movement and STEAM concepts that are used throughout the curriculum. Moving with numbers is something we do every day.

  • Kids can practice addition or multiplication or other math functions with movement. Challenge kids to create equations to movements.
  • Two tuck jumps plus four star jumps equals how many jumps?

Here at BOKS we know that kids who are more physically active are better able to learn and focus in school and in their daily activities. By using the STEAM concepts in your BOKS classes or at home, you increase your learning and growing power. Check out our April BOKS Burst Calendar and our special BOKS STEAM resource for more STEAM related activities.

Active kids = Active Minds 

HEATHER CHASE

BOKS Team

EASY AND INCLUSIVE POOL NOODLES GAMES

Have you ever seen the child who ignores the expensive toy and plays with the box that it came in? That is often the case with kids, as something insignificant may be a great source of interest. For those of us who work with children in the physical activity space, finding that “cardboard box” is a huge coup, especially if it is an inexpensive, convenient item. Pool noodles have fit that bill as they are generally cheap, but they are also versatile, easy to store and safe for games. They can be cut into various lengths for specific activities and are bright in colour for quick categorizing and grouping. Kids are inclined to actions that can be somewhat more potentially destructive actions such as swinging, swatting, and throwing, and pool noodles provide this outlet in a relatively safe and age appropriate manner. This article will feature fun and easy games that provide genuine physical activity for kids using pool noodles and can be adapted for most ages.

Pool Noodle Timber

  1. Kids break up into teams of 2 to 5. Each participant gets their own noodle.
  2. Depending on the number in the group, and various skill levels, the participants in each group stand a set distance from one another holding their noodle upright with one end resting on the floor.
  3. Based on the numbers the leader will pre-determine where each participant will be moving to when the game starts.
  4. On the go cue, participants leave their noodles, trying to keep them standing by releasing and moving away quickly. They will then run to another noodle, attempting to grasp it before it falls to the floor. They will then repeat the action by moving to the next designated spot, and so on.
  5. Modifications may include: allowing the participants to plan the order of movement, a more complex version may involve crossing over the middle to the next spot instead of a circular motion. Participants may use hula hoops instead of noodles. Depending on the skill level, hula hoops can be spun so that they remain upright like a top. This can involve playing the game over greater distances.

Tag My Foot

  1. Kids break up into teams of 2. Each participant gets their own noodle. The shorter the noodle the more difficult the game.
  2. Each kid will hold the other’s left hand, hold the noodle in the right hand, and stand arm’s length apart.
  3. On the go cue, participants attempt to strike one of their opponent’s feet with the pool noodle. Participants may move their feet in an evasive manner by hopping, jumping and shuffling in the space, all while keeping the grasp of hands secure.
  4. Modifications may include: holding the right hand of the partner and using the left for the noodle. Various length pool noodles will also increase or decrease the difficulty.

Pool Noodle Jump Rope

  1. Kids are challenged to grasp a pool noodle with both hands at each end and use the noodle as a jump rope by swinging it under their feet and then over their head.
  2. Modifications may include using different length noodles.

Pool Noodle Service Game

  1. Kids grasp a pool noodle near the bottom half and hold it out in front of them about waist high.
  2. They are then challenged to draw the other hand back and then forward striking the bottom of the noodle, much like a volleyball or badminton serve.
  3. The noodle is propelled in the air and kids are challenged to focus on how high and how straight up they can serve the noodle.
  4. Modifications may include: attempting to catch the noodle after serving before it hits the floor. They may also attempt to serve with the opposite hand or change the catching hand.

Pool Noodle Sweeper

  1. Kids break into groups of 2 or more. One long pool noodle per group is required.
  2. One participant acts as the “sweeper” by sitting or squatting on the floor with the other participants standing within a distance that does not exceed the length of the pool noodle.
  3. On the go cue, the sweeper grasps an end of the noodle and starts to move the noodle along the floor in a circular fashion by moving it in front to the opposite side and changing hands while circling the body and around the back. The sweeping continues in full circles while the others are jumping over the noodle as it passes and attempting to not allow the noodle to touch the feet.
  4. Modifications may include: Changing the speed of the sweeping. Kids can also try to hop instead of jump.

These are just some easy to try games that accommodate groups or individuals of most age groups of children. The space required is also not a limiting factor and can change the scope of the game depending on the amount of space or environment. The most important take-away from this is that a $1 store item can go a long way in getting a child active. What games can you invent?

CHRIS TREMBLAY

Regional Coordinator – Atlantic Canada

THE MANY BENEFITS OF BEING ON A TEAM

Often when you think of a team and kids, you think of competition. In fact, when I looked up the definition of “team” I got this: “a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.”  When you think of BOKS – it is a place where we focus not only on making physical activity fun, but it’s where non-competitive skills are paramount. Yet, both of these environments cultivate the benefits of being a part of a team.   

At this time of year, many people are following and/or participating in football playoffs, basketball or hockey games. On media sources, it is hard to ignore several learnings on how a team works. Teams that tend to work well together and respect one another seem to have winning records. Teammates learn to work together to achieve a common goal – winning the game. The saying “we are only as strong as our weakest link” rings true in these situations as everyone needs to perform for the group to be successful.   

Even individual sports reap the benefits of being part of a team. Striving to get your individual best helps raise up the entire team. Winning a race is not just a win for the individual, but for the team as a whole.  Practicing for an individual race, whether it be a cross-country run, a 500m swim, or a ski slalom, you aren’t practicing alone, but with a group of people who share your same passion and will share not only your success but also your challenges. 

BOKS, on the other hand, is not focused on winning, but the many benefits of teamwork still thrive. I found another definition of team which was created by Northwestern Kellogg School of Business. It states that a “team is a group of individuals working together to achieve their goal.” So many of our games and skill work are based on teamwork. Kids involved with BOKS will often have the opportunity to work with a team that includes different ages and sizes. These teams must work together to complete a skill or activity. There is one game we play called “OVER UNDER”. In this game, we have “teams” of about five kids each that will form lines. The first kid will have a small object that they are going to pass over their head to the kid behind them, then that second child will pass the object between their legs to the kid behind them and so on and so on, until all kids have passed the object. In respect to teamwork, kids get to figure out that they will have to work together to make this game a success. The smaller, younger kids on the team may have trouble passing the object overhead, but are quite skilled at getting the object through their legs. The older kids need to figure a way to make the younger kids feel comfortable enough to listen to their directions on which way the object should go. Encouraging one another on this team is another key to a successful completion of this game. 

Our Five Favorite Teamwork Benefits at BOKS:

Confidence Through sport and programs such as BOKS, kids develop a sense of confidence in themselves and trust in others. When kids feel confident and secure, they are more likely to succeed in school and achieve personal goals. Having a positive self-image helps kids feel happy and capable. 

BUILDING YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

Community The feeling of community is built in the BOKS program (and on teams), as kids share common interests, goals and attitudes. This feeling of belonging is created through a supportive, positive, environment that helps kids tackle challenges and thrive.

BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY

Friendship – We have seen kids in BOKS develop lifelong friendships through being a part of this program. These friendships help kids develop important life skills like getting along with others and dealing with conflicts and problems. Kids who develop friendships early in life are less likely to have social and emotional difficulties later in life. 

HOW TO SUPPORT SCHOOL-AGE FRIENDSHIPS

Cooperation – Cooperation is the process of working together to the same end. This skill is needed to be able to work together and be successful. Kids in BOKS gain positive social interactions and develop positive friendships through the experience of cooperation. 

5 TIPS TO TEACH COOPERATION

CollaborationAs teachers and BOKS trainers we want to help kids improve their outcomes of any activity that they doHaving kids collaborate forces them to debate, plan and solve problems togetherThese skills translate to a respectful and supportive learning environment

Getting Started with BOKS Basketball

Do your kids love playing basketball? Or do they want to learn how? You’re in luck because BOKS has everyone from beginners to advanced players covered with our new basketball resources!

Basketball with BOKS will help you coach your kids through a 4-week program that focuses on basic skills such as ball handling, passing, shooting, and defense. Each week there are three 45-minute lessons that will focus on those basketball skills and minimal basketball knowledge, or experience is necessary.

Accompanying the written instructions are follow along or instructional videos to show you exactly how to do a drill, perfect your form, or set up the game. Check out “Go, Back, Hit It – Basketball Edition” on YouTube! There are over 20 videos you can watch.

Similar to a typical BOKS class, a day of BOKS Basketball starts off with a dynamic warm up, followed by a running related activity, and then moves into the basketball skill of the week. After the basics are covered, the kids are able to enjoy a game that incorporates the skill they just learned and then 10 minutes for a full court game. Finally, the class will end with a cool down and stretching period to get ready for the rest of the day.

Complement the 4-week program with the basketball themed monthly calendar where kids can add in more games and quick bursts to keep the sport fun and entertaining. Weekly challenges will mirror the skills of the week and have kids pushing themselves to get better each day!

Now that we covered what’s included in the 4-week program and calendar – let’s go over getting started with BOKS Basketball.

1. Plan ahead – make sure you have the space and resources to support a basketball program at your school, home, or youth organization. This includes, basketballs, basketball nets, a court, and cones/markers. If you don’t have basketballs, then other bouncy sports balls will work. If you don’t have a court with hoops, then you may need to get creative and use a closed off area of a parking lot and trash bins or space in the cafeteria.

2. Keep it fun – Don’t worry – the entire program is fun for all ages – but if you want to add in even MORE fun, then play some music during the games or add in some dance breaks. If you have extra time before or after class, have the kids play knock-out, HORSE, or a trick shot challenge.

3. Challenge your players – keep track of how your players are doing on the weekly challenges in the Basketball Calendar. Are they accomplishing the tasks and doing their best to reach the goals they set forth?

4. Keep it positive – At BOKS, we like to focus on inclusive, non-competitive play. With a team sport like basketball where the games inevitably have a winning and losing team, make sure you keep the focus on the skills your players are trying rather than rewarding the winning team/best players.

5. Inspire your players – Find ways to incorporate real life basketball examples that will inspire your players to want to continue to play. For example, you could share the famous quote from Michael Jordan which says, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The BOKS Basketball Program aims to introduce more kids to a fun, team sport. The benefits of team sports are endless – such as learning the importance of teamwork, gaining confidence, making connections with teammates, and relieving stress while exercising! Once you have an established BOKS program, we highly encourage you to try bringing Basketball with BOKS to your kids – we know they’ll love it!

Michela North

BOKS Marketing Manager

2x All American Basketball Player

WHAT IS LEADERSHIP? Q&A WITH HOCKEY HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE, KIM ST-PIERRE

Leadership fascinates me, it excites me, and it is what keeps me motivated to grow. I think about all the amazing humans I have crossed paths with whether it be in sport, at school or at work. There is no right way to lead but there are qualities and characteristics that when you hear the word leader, I’m sure you think about, or your mind immediately thinks about that person that you look up to.

One of the amazing humans that crossed my path is Kim St-Pierre, who in my eyes and the eyes of many others is breaking barriers and leading the way in women’s hockey. St-Pierre is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time IIHF world champion. She was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, making her the first female goalie to be inducted.

I read in a recent article her teammate Ouellette describe her as the team’s rock and said, “Kim was certainly an outstanding goalie, the best that I played with, but she’s an even better person. If you ask anyone who knows her, it’s probably her kindness and her awareness of others that is going to be mentioned first.”

I had the honour to sit down with Kim to discuss what leadership means to her and how her hockey career played a significant role in the leader she is today.

Kim before we get going, I need to know what your favourite snack is?
I’d have to go with a smoothie, fruit with avocadoes for sure. Green smoothies are my favourite.

Can you tell me about your journey with hockey?
It all started with figured skating and being surrounded by family who had a passion for hockey. My dad was drafted for the New York Rangers and I had two brothers that got into hockey quite quickly. I really wanted to play the sport, so I asked my parents to put me in hockey and I was the only girl playing all boys hockey until I was eighteen years old. I started playing the position of goalie because a hockey coach when I was younger asked the team one day “who wants to be goalie today?” I raised my hand and the rest is history. I fell in love with the position and every time I stepped onto the ice with my goalie equipment, I felt a rush over my body of excitement. I wasn’t playing hockey to be the first female to do anything, I was playing hockey because I loved it so much.

When I was 14 and 15, I tried out for the Quebec Female team and for three years they told me I was not good enough. I continued playing boys hockey and having two brothers really helped. My parent also played a significant role in my journey as they taught me never to give up. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to watch the Canada vs. U.S. with my mom and that is when I realized one day, I wanted to put that jersey on.

A miracle happened when Dan Madden came to watch one of my games and invited me to come play for McGill University. This was the decision that changed my life. A few weeks into my first semester I got a call from team Canada to come to the training camp in Montreal, and they gave me an opportunity that led to my career.

When you hear the word leader what do you think of?
For me you can be a leader in so many ways, but our leadership absolutely evolves as you continue to grow. For me personally, it was mostly by example and hard work. As a goalie you are always a leader – being a good teammate and being there for everyone.

What qualities do you think a great leader has?
Leadership is a feeling that allows us to build trust throughout our time together in an authentic way. To build this trust some qualities a great leader has are being a good listener, ask questions, someone who is confident, caring, passionate, real, kind, a great decision maker, and open-minded. When I think about my journey with hockey this speaks so much truth when I started playing on the Women’s team. There were many of my teammates that I looked up to. They had so much confidence in themselves, and I learned so much from them on the ice and off. I think leaders who inspire us, it really comes from that feeling that you feel when you are around them.

I am curious to hear what you think are the most important qualities of a good team leader from the goaltender position.
The style of your leadership doesn’t change because you put on your goalie equipment. You see the game differently being the goalie. I would say that body language is huge – I always made sure that I had to look and act confident. When I let in a goal, I would never let my body language express to my team that I wouldn’t stop the next puck. Leadership for a goalie is built a lot in practice- this is when your teammates observe your skills and have open communication to receiving feedback.

How has your experience as an athlete changed your leadership style as a coach/parent/colleague/teammate?
As an athlete, especially a goalie, managing stress and pressure was something I had to work through daily. My ability to stay calm is absolutely one of my biggest strengths today in all facets of my life. I don’t really get stressed easily. When I watch my own sons play hockey, others always ask me “how do you stay so calm?” I respond always telling them that I am just trying to live in the moment and always focus on asking them questions like “did you have fun? “Were you a good teammate?” “What was your favourite moment?”

As an athlete we are always looking forward to the “next” practice, so having short term and long-term goals was ingrained into my every day. Goal setting played a huge part in our team’s success over the years, and this has transferred into my work life whether it is the goals the team is striving for or myself individually with my role, setting goals is super important.

How do you translate what you learned on the ice to the work environment?
One of the biggest lessons I learned was that you must be prepared- the more you prepare, the better the outcome or at least you know you’ve done everything you could to succeed. Hockey and life are all about preparation and confidence. As a team we prepared for the Olympics every practice on the ice, in the gym, to be able to deliver a great performance in competition. It’s the same with work- the more you prepare for a presentation or TV broadcast the more confidence you will have to deliver. For me, I use visualization. This helps to create readiness in my sport but also at work. When I gave my speech at the Hockey Hall Fame, I visualized myself on stage and it really helped!

How did you feel during your Hockey Hall of Fame weekend?
You don’t really dream about being in the hockey hall of fame but when it happens it is so special. You realized it was all about everything else but hockey. It’s about the people and support that you had that played a significant role that helped me to get to this moment. I’m honored to receive this award but being given an individual award for a team sport was a little awkward. You realized that so many people had an impact on your journey that made this moment possible. To be able to celebrate this honour with everyone was truly so special. Sport has so much power to influence our growth and bring people into our lives and that weekend showed me why we want our kids to play sport. It’s not the sport itself but the friends, the experiences, and lessons that it can bring to your life.

How St-Pierre fought through adversity to reach Hall of Fame

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
To enjoy every moment and surround yourself with great friends and energy. Remember confidence comes from within and to be a leader in your own way!

This conversation was so much fun! I couldn’t be prouder of Kim’s success and recent induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the recognition is so well deserved! Kim is an amazing role model that has impacted so many lives on and off the ice. One example that sticks out to me is when a friend of mine texted me one day and said, “I’m super jealous you work with Kim St-Pierre, she was my childhood hero.”

This goes to show you that you truly never know the impact you can have on others, so in the words of Kim St-Pierre “be a leader in your own way, always”.

Kyla Crocker
BOKS Canada

HOW DANCE CAN BENEFIT STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM!

No matter their background or level of experience, kids can gain so much from dance. Dancing helps kids develop new skills, get physically active, and explore a creative art form. But you may be surprised to learn about the unique ways that dance helps kids succeed in the classroom.

Dance builds self-confidence and independence. Dance empowers kids to believe in themselves, value their creative instincts, and express their ideas through movement and music. In this way, dance gives kids the chance to experience a creative process; they can learn through play and imagination in a supportive environment, where there is no right or wrong way to move.

Dance fosters artistic expression and creativity. Kids become more confident in expressing themselves and exploring artistic creativity through dance. For some kids, dancing opens doors to new passions and career paths. For others, it’s an opportunity to integrate a fulfilling artistic activity into their lives.

Photo courtesy of Canada’s National Ballet School

Dance encourages collaboration, community, and social skills. Whether making eye contact through an exercise, collaborating to create a movement sequence, or collectively experiencing the joy and satisfaction of performance, dancers learn how to build meaningful connections with their classmates, family and many others.

When educators incorporate dance into their lesson plans, they create new opportunities for students to make connections and deepen their understanding of the subject matter. Imagine a dance that lets you feel the rhythm of poetry, visualize the form of igneous or sedimentary rock, or experience the quadrants of the Medicine Wheel. These are just a few of the subject areas that can be made clearer and more tangible to kids through dance.

“For some kids, it gave them an opportunity to learn in a different way; they excelled with that. They were excited about it. Learning about stuff like rocks through music and body. A few kids in my class had prior retention issues…It was good for them…It helped them focus on learning.” – Teacher

Introduce students to all the ways dance can help them excel in the classroom by heading over to Canada’s National Ballet School’s (NBS) Educator Roadmap. This suite of free online creative movement resources is developed by world-renowned dance experts and teachers. Let NBS help you meet curriculum needs and bring the joy and benefits of dance to your students. No dance experience is required to facilitate or participate!

 

BOKS Guest Blog: Canada’s National Ballet School
Website: https://www.nbs-enb.ca/en/home