I thought I'd catch up with a few "All Around Town" posts. We've been settling in more and more lately, so I figured it was time to share what we've been up to.
Three Saturdays ago, Hannah started a new activity, ice skating lessons. We had looked into a few programs, and finally decided on the CanSkate program, offered through the Ice Palace Figure Skating Club. Hannah loves watching the children skate at the West Edmonton Mall, so the idea of being able to skate there herself was a deal sealer in what program we would pursue.
In just three short sessions, Hannah has learned how to fall properly, how to get back up on her own, and how to maneuver around on the ice. I am amazed at how quickly they pick up on the skills!! One of the things I like the best about this program is that they have several coaches on the ice at a time. As the children learn new skills, they are separated from the rest of the group. It is nice for those who learn quickly (or who have experience) so they aren't held back, but also nice for those who need a bit more one-on-one time with the instructors.
Some of the unique teaching methods used by the instructors include, writing on the ice with bingo markers, so the children can see what path they need to take. Hannah loves it when they write her name on the ice!! They also play games to encourage everyone to get moving. For example, at today's lesson, they had two identical wooden puzzles at opposite ends of their skating area. The skaters had to pick up a piece from one puzzle, then skate over and place the piece into the other puzzle. They did this several times, and by the end, most of the class was moving right along. They also took stuffed animals and each child would throw their toy, and they had to skate over to it to pick it up. The big rule was that they couldn't sit on the ice to get the toy, they had to bend down and use their balance to stay on their skates.
I should probably mention that skating is not cheap. This particular program requires that skaters wear skates with laces. In Hannah's class, there is a mix of hockey skates and figure skates. Hannah wears hockey skates, mainly because we were able to find a pair in her size, and they offered better support for her at this age. I will say that they were quite costly since her feet are so small, and our options were limited. If your child has larger feet, then the prices drop significantly for skates, and you can buy them most anywhere. We already had a helmet for Hannah that fit again this year, so our only purchase in that department was a face cage. With some recent accidents on NHL teams with players getting cut by teammates, we weren't going to take any chances. The children also tend to skate very close together, so we were worried about the domino effect and the possibility of falling on another child's skate. As for clothes, the only requirement is that they are warm and the children can move in them. Thankfully the mall rink is quite warm, so most weeks Hannah can wear most anything (she prefers fleece pants or yoga pants with a liner underneath), though a few lessons are held at the (much colder) Callingwood rinks, and we learned the hard way today that she needs to bundle up more for those lessons.
Despite getting frustrated a few times, Hannah loves this program, and as a parent, I do too!! If your child is interested in skating, I highly encourage that you check out one of the CanSkate programs offered here in Edmonton. It is well worth the money and time to have your child learn how to skate properly.