Burlington Christian Academy (BCA) is on the cutting edge with the advanced athletic program it is offering this year.
Principal Gord McNeice says he isn’t aware of many Ontario schools to offer this sort of program, although it is quite prevalent in other parts of the world, including New Zealand where he formerly taught.
“I think Christian schools have to start looking at offering unique programs for kids,” says McNeice. “They have to consider programs that the community and kids will get excited about.”
Judging by the response, the Advanced Level Program of Athletics (ALPA) is doing just that.
The program has 18 Grade 7 and 8 participants this year, the maximum for one class, notwithstanding an additional fee.
“It’s got out into the community,” says McNeice, noting he expects an expansion to two classes next year as people are already signing up. “We see it growing from this point on.”
ALPA is for those students who are passionate about sports, not necessarily the “elite” athlete, according to McNeice.
“It’s for the kids who love sports, love active living, the ones who can’t wait to get out at recess and start the game.”
The program includes a challenging schedule of sports specific instruction, nutrition classes, fitness training and healthy active living sessions, which incorporate instruction on leadership and sports science
Experts in the various sports fields have been solicited to oversee instruction, including a former national team volleyball player.
“Instructors have to have an expertise in the skill they’re instructing,” says McNeice.
The school will also be seeking input from community coaches for training students who play in community sports.
ALPA is shaped so that students fulfill Ministry of Education requirements for their other subjects as well.
McNeice says the three main objectives of ALPA are: to prepare students to take a leadership role in athletics and Phys. Ed in high school, improve their skill level, and anchor them in an understanding of what a healthy active lifestyle entails for the rest of their lives.
BCA is considering the development of a similar program in the arts.