OVEP Initiatives

Canada / Canadian Olympic School Program

Summary
Since 1988, the Canadian Olympic Committee has provided Olympic-themed resources for Canadian schools.  Over the last few years, these have been available on our web site and span grades 2 to 12 (age 8-18).


Objectives
To promote sporting activity and connect youth to the Olympians on the Canadian Olympic Team
• To encourage young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle
• To teach young people the values of the Canadian Olympic Committee: excellence, fair play, human development, leadership, peace and respect
• To develop appreciation of the Olympic Games

Approach
The Canadian Olympic School Program consists of an ensemble of resources provided free-of-charge online to Canada's primary and secondary school teachers. This educational material is provided in French and English.

Throughout the year, a special web site is a rich source of inspiration for teachers. It offers abundant material to be downloaded or consulted: project ideas, lesson plans, stories of Olympians, competitions, videos, podcasts, case studies, photos, interviews, a library, information on the Olympic Movement, etc.

The programme is open to all teachers, students and other interested parties, who must fill in a registration form to have access to all the resources.

The programme is sponsored by a Canadian financial institution which has been helping Olympic athletes for many years. Thanks to this support, the Canadian Olympic Committee can implement various measures to stimulate participation, for example:
 
• the schools can take part in competitions and challenges resulting in visits from Olympians and uniquely in 2010, Torch Relay spots.
• posters of athletes have been distributed in schools
• requesting schools have had the opportunity to receive visits by Olympic and Paralympic athletes. On this occasion, the athletes place emphasis on the dissemination of values such as teamwork, excellence, leadership, perseverance and innovation

Results
Since 1988, thousands of schools and teachers have benefited from this programme. As an example, after the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games just over 56,000 educators participated  in the program.

Practical advice

When creating our resources, we have focused on the needs of teachers.  Time spent knowing the end-users of the resources is always time well spent. 

For instance, our experience with the Canadian school system shows that teachers are very busy meeting the government mandated curriculum.  If our resources are viewed as but another item that they are expected to take time away from their lessons to teach, then teachers will simply not use them.  Therefore, we have linked our Olympic Education resources to provincially required learning outcomes.  We position our resources as high-interest materials that assist teachers in meeting mandated curriculum outcomes.  

Canadian teachers were complaining that there was a lack of resources available to teach government mandated character education or social responsibility.  This need corresponded well with our desire to promote Olympic Values through the lives and experiences of our Canadian Olympians.  Our Olympian Stories have been well received, because they fill an identified gap in available learning materials.

The Canadian educational system has focused on elevating the self-esteem and academic achievement of Aboriginal students.  The Canadian Olympic School Program partnered with Aboriginal sports organisations to profile Aboriginal Olympians and to promote role models that would be inspirational to Indigenous students.

The practical advice that we would pass along to others is that Olympic Education resources and programs should be created with a full understanding of the educational realities and priorities of those teachers who will be using them in the classroom.
Downloads and useful links

Discover the educational resources of the Canadian Olympic School Program directly on the following web sites: www.olympicschool.ca