Athlete Story: Jennifer Abel

Creating a Canadian Olympic Learning Environment

This year’s Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP) is the most comprehensive yet. Each Athlete story, featuring a well-known Canadian Olympian or Olympic hopeful, is brought to life with activities that engage students in literacy, physical activity, character challenges, numeracy extensions and audio and video podcasts.

Through these values-based Athlete stories, students discover that our athletes reached great success not only through tremendous physical talents, but also through character and intelligence. Complementing these captivating stories is the Summer Sports Day resource and Personal Best Challenges. Together, these resources create a foundation for teachers to inspire their students to exercise their mind, body and character.

COSP is designed in accordance with the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, Pierre de Coubertin’s, philosophy of Olympism. By recognizing the value of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls as role models, the program engages students with the joy found in effort while blending sport with culture and education. Our Athlete stories balance intellectual instruction, cultural development and physical education. The heart of our curriculum focuses on participation, effort and the pride in knowing you have given your all to the pursuit of excellence.

Olympic Values as Educational Tools

The worldwide Olympic values of leadership, respect and healthy active living act as a foundation for these stories. Each Athlete story will focus on the development of a character value within your students. By engaging students in each narrative, they have the opportunity to expand their understanding of this value and to expand their moral capabilities. As well, Personal Best Challenges will challenge students to reach their personal best by applying the values in their everyday life at school, at home or in the community.

Finding the Joy in Effort

To mimic the physical development of our Olympians, each Athlete story links students to physical activities in our Canadian Olympic Movement Skills resource. These movement activities will encourage students to develop physical skills over time. Students, much the same as Olympians, must first learn movement skills that enable them to balance, walk, run, jump, skip and throw proficiently. That helps set the stage for them to master more complex movement skills.

Being physically literate is critical to the development of healthy students. Physically literate students are not only experts at moving their bodies, but understand how to do so in ways that are respectful of themselves and others. They can move their bodies in creative, intelligent ways that demonstrate their ability to adapt to different situations. Such individuals enjoy success in a range of physical activities, and are more likely to be motivated to adopt healthy behaviours in all aspects of life.

Blending Sport with Culture and Education

Each Athlete story is tailored to three reading levels: Bronze (grades 2-3), Silver (grades 4-5), and Gold (grades 6 and into secondary school). Each comes with progressive activities that are open- ended and tailored to address a diverse range of learning styles and proficiencies. They focus on six main facets of understanding: explaining, interpreting, applying, taking perspective, empowering and developing self- knowledge. These critical thinking skills are woven into all three stages of the learning sequence in order to promote deeper understanding of the values and concepts.

Through many facets of the 2011-2012 Canadian Olympic School Program, children and youth can connect values to their lives at home, at school and in their local community. Perhaps they can begin to see their world in new and different ways.

Guadalajara 2011 Innsbruck 2012 London 2012 Sochi 2014 Nanjing 2014 Toronto 2015 Rio 2016 International Olympic Committee