The City of Nanaimo parks and recreation department is hoping new sword play and archery classes will hit the mark.
The classes cater to children between eight and 14 years of age, with instruction from Jamie Black, founder of Wild Craft Play ’sCool, which provides creative adventure education.
Black, who has a background in martial arts, said it’s not about violence, but generating inner confidence and resilience. The course will include basic skills development.
Black said her intention is to bring wild nature adventures into the city and share what it’s like to do archery and play with swords in a creative and playful way. Equipment will be provided with real bows and arrows and targets, but foam swords.
“When people first arrive, the very first experience is safety,” said Black. “So we give the children a chance to take a look at everything and then do a little demo and then once they get to put their hands on the archery equipment and the swords, that’s where they start to learn by doing and I use a guided discovery approach where the children, they try things on themselves.
“My core job is to keep everybody safe, but aside from that, they get to kind of explore what it’s like to pull an arrow and use a sword.”
Black, who received a masters in environmental education and communication at Royal Roads University in July, is applying some of her research to her teaching. Black refers to her methodology as the “hummingbird approach” as she said the hummingbird kicks her children out of the nest and gets them to fend for themselves which leads the bird to learn by doing.
“Imagine afterwards, while these kids are trying things on for themselves, when I see that coachable moment, I will pop in, give them a little bit more information and I’ll step back again and let them do the rest themselves,” said Black.
Deborah Beck, city recreation coordinator, said she is hoping the program stimulates participants’ sense of adventure.
“They can learn something new and interesting and getting people outside, exploring and trying to create some energy around being creative and adventuresome, I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Beck.
The recreation and parks department has openings for the Archery and Sword Play program on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Caledonia Park and Beck recommends parents and guardians be mindful of the small drop-off area at the park; there is parking available at nearby lots on Wall Street. The course runs from April 3 to May 5.
For more information, see the City of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation Activity Guide, go to www.nanaimo.ca and go to the recreation and parks tab or call 250-756-5200.