While extracurricular activities have completely disappeared in several high schools this year, students in Beaupré near Quebec have access to twice as many activities as usual during the lunch hour.
“For us, extracurricular activities are an essential service,” says Luc Paquet, principal of Mont-Sainte-Anne high school in Beaupré.
Since the start of the school year, all groups of students can participate in three or four activities per week. The only constraint linked to the pandemic: to offer “bubble-class” activities, which bring together students from the same group.
The choice of activities was determined following a survey of students in September, explains recreation technician Lysania Hawey, whom everyone calls “Liz”.
Skateboarding, zootherapy and robotics
Since the start of the school year, around 800 activities have been offered to students. The list goes on: cooking, cinema, plastic arts, science, Spanish, table football, katag and crossfit, among others. Boxing and mechanical workshops will even be available in the coming days.
Photo Stevens LeBlanc
Another group of young people were playing floor hockey in the nearby gymnasium.
During the passage of Newspaper this week, three days after returning to class, some students were playing floor hockey, others were skating in the nearby gymnasium or playing table football a little further away.
During this time, other young people also took part in animal therapy, robotics and music activities.
Photo Stevens LeBlanc
Pet therapy workshops are also offered.
Something to forget, or almost, that the pandemic has been shaking up the daily lives of thousands of students for months.
“We can see that we are one of the few schools where there are still plenty of extracurricular activities, it’s a big advantage and it’s really exceptional,” said Thomas Croft, a fifth year student who is president of the student advice.
Keep students busy at lunchtime
These activities are essential for the feeling of belonging and motivation of young people, particularly during a pandemic, says Luc Paquet.
But behind this offensive is also another objective. “We said to ourselves that if we did not manage the students during the lunch hour, it was going to be a mess to manage in class”, launches the principal.
With the sanitary measures, several high school students have to spend their lunch hour in class, in the same room where they sit from morning to night. However, some leave school at noon, which increases the risk of contact with other young people outside.
At the Mont-Saint-Anne school, students have a third option: participate in the extracurricular activity offered to their group.
“We want to make them want to stay in school in a safe environment, rather than going to gather 25 outside without a mask,” explains Mr. Paquet.
The teachers in the know
With the constraint of the “bubble-class”, it is obvious that it is difficult to please everyone. But the students are there: about two-thirds of the students in a group participate in the activities offered, says Liz.
This host of activities was made possible thanks to the collaboration of several teachers, such as Pierick Lefebvre, a history teacher who offers robotics workshops.
The positive effects of extracurricular activities carry over into the classroom, he says. “It really makes a difference. When young people can spend their energy or take a break from lunch, they come to class more relaxed afterwards, they are more relaxed. ”
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116