Creating School-Hockey Balance

contributed by Mike Mellon (Ottawa, ON)

PARENTS HAVE TO KNOW THEIR CHILD’S LIMIT when it comes to kids playing hockey and how they perform at school.

That’s what elementary Daniel Levasseur, elementary school principal and father of three has learned through his 19 years of education experience.

“If parents choose [for children] to miss school for a hockey tournament that’s fine by me,” he said.

Levasseur has two boys and a girl who are all involved in minor hockey and said that team sports, like hockey, give children the opportunity to learn core values outside of the classroom that can be applied to all aspects of life.

“I only see positive in team sports,” he said. “It’s important [for kids] to be part of a team and know how to work with others and to achieve a common goal. In the workplace you often have to work with a team and you can take all of the values you learn in your team sports and bring them into team situations in the workplace.”

Levasseur also lists loyalty, responsibility, and respect for others as key characteristics that he spots in children participating in out-of-school sports such as hockey.

It’s all about balance and good team-work

Alexandra Guerin, an elementary school teacher from Ottawa who has been teaching music for the past 25 years, said she is all for students being involved in outside of school activities like hockey.

Guerin said that it’s all about balance and good team-work between parents and teachers when it comes to students missing school to play hockey.

“As long as they know school comes first,” she said.

Guerin said that she likes to see children be involved. She said that playing hockey is a valuable experience for kids outside of school because it teaches them to plan ahead and be caught up on their homework if they are going to miss school.

“It’s good for their self-esteem and it’s a motivator for them,” she said. “It’s nice to picture them in a different environment.”

Guerin said students who are involved in activities outside of school like hockey are generally happier and more responsible. She also said she likes to know what her students are up to outside of school and uses that as an aid when teaching her students.

“I use hockey comparisons when I’m teaching my band,” Guerin said. “It’s easier for them to picture the effort, hard work and time they have to put in.”

She added that she likes it when she receives a heads up from parents if their kids have an early practise or are going to miss a day. When she knows about a student’s activities outside of school she’s not wondering why they are half asleep in class or why they may be lagging behind in school work.

“There are a lot of benefits to combining sports and academics,” Levasseur said. “There’s always that fine line, you have to know your child and you have to know if it’s a good idea for him to miss school for a sporting event. If he is having a difficult time at school it may not be such a good idea. If he can get caught up I’m all for it.”

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