Tag Archives: Physical Literacy

Ridleian Becomes National Champion in Archery

On March 5th, Reece Wilson-Poyton ’18 captured the Canadian National Indoor Archery Championships in the Cadet Recurve category, which requires archers to hit a small target from 18m away. This victory caps a remarkable run for the Ridley student, who took up competitive archery in 2015.

His goal is to make the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics teams, and plans on beginning his training for shooting Olympic outdoor distances (70m) next year.

He was inspired to take up this less-common sport after attending the archery contests during the 2015 Pan-Am Games held in Toronto. “I love the sport so much because I am constantly improving, learning, and changing,” says Reece, who is now giving back to the archery community by becoming a Level 1 instructor for beginners at the Brockley Archery Club in Hamilton.

Athletics is an integral part of the Ridley College experience, all students participate in some form of physical activity every day. Ridley participates in the Sport for Life Society’s Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD). Which exposes students to a variety of sports as a foundation for engaging in sport for life. It provides a path to better sport, greater health, and higher achievement based on the latest sport science and best practices in coaching and training from around the world. Even when students find a passion outside of one of our over 75 co-curriculars, we do our best to accommodate.

Reece travels several times a week to Caledon, ON for training sessions, and practices on campus with Mr. Clyde Dawson. “Ridley has helped by allowing me to practice on campus under the supervision of Mr. Dawson two times a week after school as part of my sport credit,” says Reece.

Reece was recently featured in an episode of Future Legends on WIN HD Caribbean, who profiled his perseverance and determination, to overcome an eye injury to compete at the highest level. Ridley encourages students to discover and pursue their passions, persevere through challenges, risk failure, and develop grit and resilience. Accomplishment and engagement are elements of a flourishing life. Grit is a fundamental element for achievement and Reece has embodied this.

His next competition is the Multi-sites Indoor Championships of the Americas (MICA), which will involve archers from the Americas and the Caribbean. Afterwards Reece says he will be focusing on upcoming outdoor competitions in Montreal and Sault Ste. Marie, shooting at a distance of 60m, and attending a training camp in Florida.

Ridley’s Unique Playscape Supports Physical Literacy Goals

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Ridley’s all-natural playscape, which officially opened in late 2015, is at the forefront of physical literacy promotion by encouraging creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills, prescribed in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.

The concept of physical literacy came to Ridley College through Brock University and Dr. James Mandigo and it has long been promoted by Sport Canada and Sport for Life. Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills, such as running, skipping, jumping and throwing. In practice, varying sets of skills are introduced to children at appropriate ages and stages of development. For years, Ridley has drawn upon leading physiological and psychological research on the topic to promote physical literacy; which is also pivotal in mental and social development.

Since this model was introduced at Ridley, our competitive sports programmes have experienced phenomenal success, while Lower School physical literacy programmes have been implemented to improve overall fitness, health and well-being through increased active play. This paradigm helps students develop a lasting relationship with physical activity and better prepares student athletes for successful long term athletic careers. Active play, of which our younger students enjoy three times a day for 20 minutes, has also been linked to notable cognitive function and development.

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The all-natural playscape – which was a part of the 2014-2015 annual giving campaign – is a very tangible example of how Ridley is maintaining its leading edge on physical literacy promotion in independent schools. The idea for the playscape was born from students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition projects and Ridley decided that a unique, topographical landscape with obscure apparatuses would be the ideal way to encourage active play and reach school-wide physical literacy goals. The playscape creates a far more engaging and creative experience than the traditional, manufactured playgrounds and also enacts our objective to be more environmentally conscious.

“Our challenge was to create a Lower School playground that encouraged more open-ended and creative play, while at the same time, promoting a connection with nature.”

– Mrs. Hanna Kidd

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian playground designer and builder, brought forward the perfect solution – a playground constructed of all-natural elements, that could be designed to fit the needs of the students. Founded in 1982 by Adam Bienenstock, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds aims to bring nature back into the lives of children, so that they can develop an appreciation for the environment, while engaging in active play.

“Over time, somehow what we thought was fun disappeared from kids’ lives. Their roam rates dropped right down, their world got smaller and their screens got bigger, and the need for this [type of playscape] grew.”

– Mr. Adam Bienenstock, CEO and Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

It was clear that Bienenstock’s values aligned with Ridley’s, and the common goal of educating students on the importance of environmental conservation made for the perfect fit. After consulting with Bienenstock and receiving input from Ridley’s faculty, staff and students, the Playscape construction officially begun. Ridley was able to select playground elements that would challenge the students, encourage curiosity and creative thinking and be utilized at each age and stage of development.

The Playscape officially opened in December of 2015, but has since grown and has already become the perfect place for students to have fun, get active and even relax. It currently includes a number of large elements, such as a tree fort with a rope bridge, a rock climbing wall, a multipurpose amphitheater (outdoor classroom) and gaga ball court, tunnels, log clusters, a barrel swing, a willow dome and a sand area that includes a water feature and slides. As time passes, Ridley hopes to add several new elements, while the current elements continue to grow and evolve.

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According to Lower School faculty, instances of playground conflict have dramatically decreased with the opening of the new Playscape and the Athletics Department has already observed instances of creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills – elements that are viewed as positive markers in physical literacy studies.

The Playscape offers the perfect place for our younger students to have daily physical activity, while exploring movement and improving their social and emotional well-being. “The natural playscape will continue to help our students develop an appreciation, curiosity and respect for their world, leading to better physical and mental health.” – Mrs. Hanna Kidd

This Playscape was made possible with the support of generous donors. It is with this continued support that will Ridley be able to grow our school’s arts, academics and athletics programmes, and continue to provide students with the opportunities and tools necessary to live flourishing lives.

Ridley College students net ice time with Ottawa Senators

The National Hockey League came to town as a special treat for our Ridleians on Friday, April 22nd.

Students belonging to our hockey programme joined Chris Neil, Cody Ceci, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Nick Paul, players from the Ottawa Senators, for an hour of fun on-ice sessions and scrimmages at Tiger arena.

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“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to not only meet these world-class athletes, but to also get a chance to learn from them during the practice sessions,” said Ridley’s Headmaster, Ed Kidd. “We want to thank the Ottawa Senators, Mr. Eugene Melnyk and members of the organization for visiting the school and spending valuable time with our students and players. It was truly an experience we will not forget.”

After a successful season for Ridley’s First Boys and First Girls hockey teams, the players will be eager to put to use what they learned from the NHLers next season.

Due to its incredible performance this season, the First Girls hockey team has been promoted to the Junior Women’s Hockey League  (JWHL) for upcoming 2016/2017 season. Coached by two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion, Amanda Benoit-Wark, the girls team will take on an elite level of competition in this North American league that helps prepare players for NCAA and CIS athletics.

Not to be outdone, the First Boys hockey team, coached by former European league player and Niagara resident Mike McCourt, is coming fresh off its MPHL Championship and silver medal win at the National Independent School Invitational Hockey Championship.

In addition to spending time on the ice with students, the Senators also toured the campus, visited classrooms and checked out the newly built Lower School Playscape, designed for students in JK to Grade 8.

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This past fall, the all-natural playscape was integrated into the existing, mature trees on the school grounds to help promote physical literacy amongst our younger students.

“The idea behind the playscape is that our students will reach physical literacy milestones sooner, which then puts them on the path to athletic success in later years,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “Unique playscapes like this have been proven to positively impact learning and academic achievement and build fundamental movement skills, promote resilience and increase creative and imaginative play. The introduction of the playscape is just one of the ways that Ridley is supporting its physical literacy goals and the Long-Term Athletic Development plan.”

The all-natural playscape, was built as part of the annual giving campaign for the 2014/2015 school year and Ridley College is currently undertaking an observational study to capture how students are demonstrating fundamental movement skills and imaginative play.

Thank you to the Ottawa Senators and Mr. Eugene Melnyk for giving our students such an incredible opportunity.

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To see photos from the Senators visit, click here.

To view the video from the Senators visit, click here.