A day in the life of WinSport’s Early Childhood Development program – The Perfect Mud Cake

WinSport’s Early Explorers program – an early childhood development program for children ages three to five – builds the physical and cognitive development of children in an engaging indoor and outdoor environment. The idea to create the program was inspired from WinSport’s legacy, which was formed by relentless, bold, and fearless individuals. The organization’s goal is to continue that legacy by creating the next generation of leaders – children who will make an impact and continue to inspire their community. The outdoor play component of our ECD program is complimented by the newly designed calm and nurturing indoor learning space. Below is an example of a learning story written by WinSport Early Childhood educator Brittany Caldwell.

It was a warm Winter day and the snow was slushy and the dirt was peaking out. The draw of the mud, snow, buckets and shovel seemed strong. “E” found a large bucket of dirt and began mixing all the water she could find into the bucket. Using a small spoon, she had transformed the bucket from dry dirt, to a fabulous mixture. I offered her a rake to keep her mittens and sleeves dry and she turned the rake into a propeller for mixing. “A” joined in the mixing and claimed they were making batter to make a “Mud Cake.”

“We don’t want it to be too hard or too soft.”

“We need more water, we are putting dry stuff in it.”

“I gotta get more water, that’s what bakes the cake, so that’s the problem.”

“Snow is made of water, let’s add more snow.”

As we continued our work on our perfect mud batter, we finally reached a consistency that the girls agreed would make the perfect cake. Then the girls began to make their cakes. They worked on filling each pot. No matter how big or small. They made hot chocolate, muffins, heart cakes and more! Soon every dish in our mud kitchen was full of the perfect batter. We had found the best way to spend a warm winter afternoon. No matter what projects we develop and the fun we have, we can always rely on making mud to be the best way to spend a warm and wet day outside.

The way mud lures in the children is fascinating. It seems reliable for the Explorers’ – something they can always depend on. No matter the day, no matter the weather, no matter the mood, we can always rely on playing in the mud. Getting dirty seems to be the favorite outdoor activity and shouldn’t it be?

For more information on WinSport’s Early Explorers program, visit: https://www.winsport.ca/lessonsprograms/earlychildhood.cfm

How Can We Set your Kids up for Athletic Success?

There is an epidemic of kids quitting and dropping out of sport too early. According to a systematic review published in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration by Tek Dangi and Peter Witt, two of the major reasons that kids quit are: 1) they have a self-perception of low physical competence and 2) they are getting injured. So how can we ensure our kids continue to participate and enjoy sport into their teenage years and beyond? By giving them the necessary tools to develop the skills that increase their competence and confidence to engage in physical activity and to prevent injury throughout their participation.

WinSport has programs designed for youth to help them develop a life-long love for sports.
WinSport’s youth programs are designed to help them develop a life-long love for sports.

Dr Avery Fagenbaum, a leading researcher in youth strength training, cites two types of skills that kids need to develop – as early in life as possible – to increase competence and confidence in physical activity:

Fundamental Movement Skills: Having the capacity to perform primal movements properly. Squats, lunges, pulling, pushing, twisting, bending, and gait (how a person walks or runs) are examples of primal movements that form the foundations for development of athletic skills such as balance, locomotor skills (running, jumping) and sport skills (catching, throwing, kicking).

Primal Muscular Strength: Having strength to perform the aforementioned functional movements against some sort of resistance (i.e. body weight). Being able to do a push-up, climb a jungle gym, or lifting something up from the ground would be considered primal strength development.

WinSport Recommends:

  1. Get kids involved in activity early

Activities such as gymnastics are great for giving your kids a head start in their functional movement capacity and coordination.

WinSport’s Sport FUNdamentals Camp (Ages 4-5) is a jumpstart to foundational movement and sport skills using games and activities, all under guided instruction. Click here for a full program description.

  1. Get kids involved in activities that have a multi-sport focus.

Kids should be playing at least 2-3 different sports until their mid-teens to reduce the number of overuse injuries and so they can develop a complete athletic skill set.

The Sports Skills Camp (Ages 6-8, 9-11, 12-15) offered at WinSport introduces kids to 3-4 different sports where they will learn the physical, technical, and tactical components of each. Click here for a full program description.

  1. Get kids in the gym to develop strength.

Our Sport Performance Camp (Ages 12-15) is a week-long curriculum focusing on mastering the physical, psychological, cognitive, tactical and technical aspects that are required for athletic excellence. Kids will develop leadership skills, be introduced to sport nutrition, hydration, visualization and goal setting while training at the Performance Training Centre (PTC) under the direction of our strength and conditioning coaches. Click here for a full program description.

Our Junior Athlete Development Program (Ages 9-12) is an 8-week weight-room focused program that explores age-appropriate resistance training and conditioning. This is a great sport education program for those not involved in organized sport or a supplemental “dryland” program for those who are. Click here for a full program description.

Another option is the Athlete Development Training Program (Ages 13-17). Upon meeting for an initial consult with one of our strength coaches, a customized strength and conditioning program will be created. The program is tailored to the individual’s performance goals and executed independently by the athlete under direct supervision on weekday afternoons in the PTC. Click here for a full program description.

For any program inquires please contact Sport Services at 403-247-5405 or by email at train@winsport.ca