On Monday January 7, the month-long WinterKids Games 2019 kicked off with Opening Ceremonies at Canal School in Westbrook.  This is the second year of this state-wide initiative with only two schools selected to represent each of the 16 counties in Maine. Canal Elementary in Westbrook is one of them!  WMTW selected Canal for the Opening Ceremonies and was there to cover the story:
"Lighting the Cauldron" January 7, 2019
On Tuesday January 7, Ann Brown, school Nurse at Canal, joined us to share a bit about how her school was selected and what to expect. Canal was notified in mid-December that they had been chosen to participate. Over 70% of their students qualify for free or reduced price lunches which was likely a factor in their selection.  Schools participate in a variety of outdoor activities, as well as nutrition and literacy efforts to earn points toward winning money, equipment or books for their school.  The first place school will win $5000, second place $3000, third place $1500. Honorable mention schools win various prizes.
The first week focuses on outside activities. The kids and staff work together to create fun and engaging activities to get the kids moving.  For example, during the Opening Ceremonies, the kids danced outside for 60 seconds as part of the celebration. This year the program also links in literacy. Reading will be integrated into the various physical and nutrition activities.  As part of the literacy component, members of Westbrook Police Dept will be reading in each classroom.
The second week focuses on nutrition.  WRVC culinary staff and students will be assisting during this week.  There will also be a cardiovascular unit to educate kids about their heart and the link among nutrition, physical activity and heart health. The school receives extra points for having quest speakers on relate topics.  At the end of this week, the school is holding a Bingo night for students and families. Hannaford will be providing healthy snacks to participants.
Week three is family engagement week. On January 23, volunteers will be in each classroom to read the book Stone Soup and to help the kids make a vegetable soup similar to the story (see Upcoming Opportunities above).  On January 24 there will be a family walk. The fourth week brings a field day with outside games and opportunities for family and the community to participate.
To help Canal earn extra points, Westbrook-Gorham Rotary members recorded a (very) short video to show our support for the kids in this fun program.  You can view this video on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/WestbrookGorhamRotary/videos/288825811985307/?t=1 or you can download it from this page on our website: https://westbrookgorhamrotary.org/sitepage/winterkids-winter-games-2019/