The Impact of WinterKids Winter Games, According to the Top 3 Winning Schools in 2020

The Impact of WinterKids Winter Games, According to the Top 3 Winning Schools in 2020

The WinterKids Winter Games 2020 got 32 Maine schools (2 in every county in Maine), including 7,332 kids and 1087 teachers and support staff to take their classrooms outside this winter, learning, playing, and taking advantage of the magic that is Winter in Maine!

We wanted to learn more about the impact the WinterKids Winter Games made this season, so we reached out to our top three winning schools, Prescott Memorial, Jonesport Elementary, and Dr. Levesque Elementary to share their experiences. Here’s what they had to say…

Prescott Memorial School, Washington, Maine

Nancy Stover, Principal

Why was it important for your students to participate in the WinterKids Winter Games?

I believe it was important for our students to participate in the Winter Games to introduce students to the many options available to them and their families during the winter months. It was a good way to reinforce healthy habits and the need to keep active.  It was also beneficial for our students and families to realize the many local resources available to them through the winter months. Representatives from local ski areas, outdoor resource centers, fitness centers, nutritionists, law enforcement, and others were all guest speakers that introduced students to what is available in our area to keep healthy and active.

The WinterKids team did an outstanding job of preparing and gathering the materials and the STEAM theme aligned with our academic standards which were great!

Prescott Elementary Winter Games 2020 0009
Prescott Elementary Winter Games 2020 0003

What did the Winter Games mean for your school and community?

Our small school community was very involved in the games.  The staff worked together daily collaborating, brainstorming and volunteering their expertise in whatever capacity was needed. One of the highlights was how our staff bonded together to do whatever was asked, even if it meant a disruption to their schedules. Our community was very supportive and would post pictures on Facebook with our mascot of all the adventures they went on with their families. Winning the gold has been the high point of our school year and we have had many parents, families, community and school board members involved and very supportive.

Tell us about one or two of your favorite memories from the Games.

  • The Winter Carnival with the local volunteers who shared their skills with us was a highlight of the Winter Games. Students were very engaged and learned about winter survival, the technology involved in law enforcement, toboggan racing, snowmobile safety and technology, and animal habitats. It was awesome!
  • The whole school sledding party at the Pumpkin Vine Family farm involved all of the students and staff on a beautiful winter day with sledding, snowshoeing and snow fort building.
  • The making of our snow principal, Mrs. Sno-ver!

**The two years we participated in the WinterKids Winter Games has truly been a collaborative effort of commitment, cooperation, brainstorming, and teamwork with our amazing students, staff, and families supporting us and working hard to help us achieve the GOLD! 

Winter Games 2020 Tiebreaker Prescott Memorial School

Jonesport Elementary School, Jonesport, Maine

Marni Crowley, 5th Grade Teacher

Why was it important for your students to participate in the WinterKids Winter Games?

Honestly, we wanted to win the $5000! We have a wonderful trail out behind our school.  We wanted to purchase snowshoes so we can get the kids in our school outside more often!  Little did we know, we ended up LOVING the whole competition aspect! Our school worked so hard to ensure that everyone was involved in our events and we just pumped each other up!!!

Jonesport Elementary Winter Games 2020 0001
Jonesport Elementary Winter Games 2020 0004

What did the Winter Games mean for your school and community?

The first thing we did was get the school and community “hooked” with our theme.  The STEAM theme for WinterKids, Winter Games led to our “mascot” STEAMY the lobster.  It all flowed from there! Our hashtag #getcrackinjonesport & our event t-shirts were well known in the community!  We made a trap tree for our closing ceremonies & invited all of our lobstering families to put a buoy on the tree.

We made lots of “events” on Facebook and invited the community!  We invited them to our Opening Ceremonies, our Winter Family Fun Night, the Winter Carnival, the Closing Ceremonies & our Top 3 reveal!  So many people attended these events to show their support for our school!  

Finally, the feedback we got after each event was amazing!  Happy faces, happy hearts, and excited kids made the hard work worth it!

Tell us about one or two of your favorite memories from the Games.

Oh, there were so many!  Our Opening Ceremony was pretty epic!  We had two Anah Temple Shriners bring their mini lobster boats to lead the parade!  The next was a community member pulling their family’s lobster boat with the secretary & bus driver (dressed as lobsters) and the gym teacher (dressed as a lobsterman) in the stern of the boat! Then the students were all dressed in their Get Crackin’ Jonesport t-shirts carrying their lobster crafts or WinterKids signs. We walked around our school and up to the High School where the high school students were outside chanting Get Crackin Jonesport!  Parents were lined up along the path cheering us on! It was amazing!
The second memory was our Winter Family Fun Night.  Teachers and volunteers ran different stations (based off of the Bingo Board) and families were just allowed to go around as they wanted!  We were fortunate to have snow on the ground this year-yeah!- so the two most popular stations were the sledding and snowshoeing! It was so awesome to see the efforts made for parents without vehicles to come to the event.  We even had some grandparents come! There is nothing like seeing a Grampy slide with their granddaughter! You can’t help but smile.

Jonesport Elementary Winter Games 2020 0007

Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Frenchville, Maine

Stephanie Nadeau, School Nurse

Why was it important for your students to participate in the WinterKids Winter Games?

We participated in the Winter Games last year and our school really had such a great time and it made January fly by, so when we were asked to do it again, I set out to make sure the teachers were on board with it.  Every single teacher was a go, EVERYONE. I knew this was something that not only I had fun with, but they did and the kiddos for sure had a blast learning outside too! It’s important for our kids to know that winter can be fun, that learning never stops just because we have 6 feet of snow outside, and that doesn’t mean being “stuck” inside either.  It felt like WinterKids gave us permission in a sense to continue to learn creatively throughout the year. Since winter is perhaps our longest season, we need students to know its not a time of hibernation, but rather a time of exploration, to get out there and enjoy it!

Dr Levesque Elementary Winter Games 2020 0011
Dr Levesque Elementary Winter Games 2020 0002

What did the Winter Games mean for your school and community?

Participating in the Winter Games definitely gives our school a sense of teamwork and togetherness.  The biggest element it provides is fun! I was astounded by the support we received from the community and our school community.  Anyone we contacted to help us out had no hesitation to commit, everyone wanted to help us succeed. Our students were exposed to many different jobs and activities through our guest speakers and the Winter Carnival too.  That exposure will hopefully be a source of inspiration for them, that they know they can do anything and that so many people support them.

Tell us about one or two of your favorite memories from the Games.

The two best memories from WinterKids is our roster video making experience and the closing ceremony.  For our roster video, we wanted to incorporate our theme which was “Thriller, Chiller, Winner” and immediately thought of the Michael Jackson hit, “Thriller”.  One of our teachers went out several times at recesses to get some basic choreography down. The last day, we brought all the students together and were AMAZED at how well they worked together and how well they listened to feedback.  It literally gave me goosebumps to see everyone working so well together and NAIL IT! The second would have to be the closing ceremony. We spent all month freezing ice blocks in milk jugs and cartons. Each class lined up, and each student picked out their own ice block to place on our own ice wall.  We wanted to engineer something all together and it was just really sweet to see them all invested and excited about something together. It was definitely a feel-good moment when you looked around and saw al the smiling faces getting their medals and picking their ice blocks, you could feel the bond in the air, despite sub-zero temps!

Dr Levesque Elementary Winter Games 2020 0009

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