Gym class outside in a Winnipeg winter? This school is pitching a way around the cold

Hula hoops and bean bags would normally work their way into gym class at École Sage Creek School, but now they’re in a tent full of masked-up kids — an unconventional yet effective way to keep moving through winter during a pandemic.

Physical education teachers like Matt Gagné have adapted their normal routines to two sprawling white tents outside.

It took some time to work it all out at the kindergarten to Grade 6 school, and the lessons aren’t quite the same, but each day the tent students are becoming more acclimated to the cool new digs.

“They’re very, very excited,” Gagné said in French.

Students at Sage Creek School have gym class in two tents, each of which can accommodate 17 students. (Radio-Canada)

Keeping two metres apart is easy, with each tent’s occupancy capped at 17 students.

The tents aren’t heated but do a good job of shielding students from cold winds, said Sage Creek principal Marc Poirier.

On days when it’s really cold, the students stay indoors for gym in a classroom.

Teachers would prefer to stay outside as long as possible, Poirier said, because the tent space provides more options for activity.

On top of the novelty of getting the blood pumping in a tent, the well-ventilated outdoor space has provided an added sense of security, Gagné said.

“It works very well.”

Teachers will keep kids moving in their winter wear in the tent except on days when the temperature really drops. In those cases, they may do gym in classrooms. (Radio-Canada)