What Canadian doesn’t want their child to know how to skate? Happily, kids can lace up for class as early as three, depending on their maturity and social skills. Donna King, senior manager of skating programs for Skate Canada in Ottawa, suggests looking for a certified CanSkate program. “CanSkate’s program is generic, so the skills are transferrable to other ice sports,” says King.
Pepper Ventresca’s daughter, Kiryn, started skating classes at age three; now nine, she participates in synchronized skating. “She still takes regular skating classes along with synchro and it gives her a great skill set,” says the Toronto mom of two. “They’re mastering bunny hop jumps, gliding, stroking and more.”
Programs may be seasonal or run in 10-week sessions. “Beginners learn the very, very basics of standing up on skates, falling and getting up safely, moving forward, pushing, gliding and stopping and turning as they progress,” says King. Weekly classes are often offered in group lessons where the ratio of certified coaches and program assistants to younger students is 1:10. “But a number of clubs across Canada like to have a better, lower ratio, particularly when skaters are just learning,” she says.
CanSkate is divided into six stages of learning. Skaters are awarded badges based on mastering a variety of skills within three fundamental areas: balance, control and agility.
Expect to pay approximately $90 to $150 for a 10-week program. Costs may rise once children move into more specialized classes—think hockey, figure or synchronized skating.
Does My Kid Have It?
“Should a child be identified as having a keen interest or an enhanced natural ability, the child’s skating coach may suggest additional programming,” says King. That could include an extra CanSkate session per week, more specialized figure skating training or a power skating program to enhance their hockey skills.
To learn more, please visit Skate Canada.
Are these activities right for your child?