Pandemic doesn’t stop Recreation and Community Development students from developing fun activities
Among the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that things do not always go as planned.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic Recreation and Community Development students in instructor Amy Peters’ Program Planning class learned this first-hand just hours before they were set to begin running recreation programs they had planned for children in the Saskatoon Public Schools as part of a class assignment.
“Our first scheduled afternoon was Friday, March 13,” Peters recalls. “I confirmed with the school teacher around noon on Thursday (March 12) that they were expecting us the following afternoon. It was at the end of the school day, around 3:30, when the news came that effective immediately there would be no outside visitors allowed because of COVID-19 health concerns.”
“Our Recreation and Community Development students take Program Planning 1 in their first semester and Program Planning 2 in their second semester,” explains Peters. “In the first semester, we work through a lot of theory but students also have an opportunity to run short programs for each other. In the second semester, it is important that they get to run programs for people they don't know.”
This is where the schoolchildren come in. Through a partnership with the school division, Peters had arranged for students to plan and run programs during physical education classes.
“Last year, we visited three schools and spent an afternoon at each, playing games with three to four classes at each school,” Peters continues. “The variety of ages and personalities of schoolkids provided a great learning opportunity for our Recreation students. This year, we had planned to visit four different schools since it is a bit of a larger class.”
When it became clear COVID-19 would disrupt this year’s plans, however, Peters adjusted the assignment.
“I still gave them marks for the program plans that they had created for the schools,” she notes. “(But) for the part of their mark that required them to stage a program, I asked my students to develop an activity that they could present online, whether that was through video, audio or written instructions.”
Peters did not limit the focus on schoolchildren.
“They (students) could choose their target population as long as they told me who their activity was geared towards and took into account that the activities needed to be able to be done with minimal equipment and minimal people,” she says. “Some of them focused on activities more geared towards adults, while others stuck with activities designed for kids.”
The result was an assortment of creative activities.
“A couple of students created videos teaching how to line dance or do Bhangra dancing,” Peters says. “One showed how to create your own board game and another shared an idea of how to spice up the games you already have—and might be tired of. It also included the addition of physical activity to address the potential of additional sitting time at home.”
Other activities included a cooking scavenger hunt, a “Walk Around the World activity that has you track your exercise and try to collect enough time to get all the way around the world,” instructions for how to set up a paint night and more.
If you are interested in learning more about the students' activity projects, contact Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recreation and Community Development (formerly Recreation and Tourism Management) is a two-year diploma program offered at Saskatoon Campus. With a comprehensive curriculum which is relevant to real world trends, students learn about event planning, communication and computer skills, community and economic development, environmental sustainability, management and leadership skills, and legal aspects and camp practices.