Activity Hallway installed at Victor Sammurtok School

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A new addition put in place over the holiday season at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) is being warmly received by students at the school in Chesterfield Inlet.

Autut Aggark, back, and David Issaluk make good use of the new Activity Hallway at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Jan. 13. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank

The idea came to fruition through the combined efforts of staff members Ana Leishman and Horace Palmer.

Leishman said teachers and staff at VSS have been trying to do a lot of different initiatives to include as much of the student body as possible.

She that they’re also trying to work on a few behavioral initiatives for kids who may just need a break once on awhile.

“Our school’s really small and we don’t always have the space for kids to go and work-off some energy,” said Leishman.

“Sometimes, when it comes to behavior problems you might have in the classroom, you don’t have the tools in the classroom to deal with them or the students just need an environmental change.

Autut Aggark, left, and David Issaluk are having a blast on the new Activity Hallway at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Jan. 13. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank

“I had come across an Activity Hallway online that promotes a lot of physical movement in the hallway, and it was set-up in a way to also have students concentrating on the hallway’s objectives.

“Horace (Palmer) found an example of the type of hallway we wanted and reached out to contact a company in Manitoba called Jump 2 Math, which we exchanged ideas with back and forth for about a year.”

Leishman said they liked a lot of what they saw, but they wanted an Activity Hallway that featured more Northern themes the VSS students would be familiar with.

She said some of the things the company had were amazing, but they were geared towards southern experiences and they wanted to link the hallway with things the kids knew up North.

“In the end they showed us an Activity Hallway that would feature an inuksuk, an iglu with letters on it on the wall, arctic char running, walking like a polar bear, hopping like different arctic animals, rocks and a qamutiik with a syllabic chart so that the kids go up one rung and down the other.

“We ordered it and the company sent us this giant roll of stick-able material and, kind of, explained how to work with it.

“Another teacher, Vicki Tanuyak, and I spent four days over Christmas installing it in the hallway on the elementary side of the building.

“The custodians were fantastic to help us out and, when we were finished, it had taken 10 coats of wax to do these amazing floor stickers properly.”

Leishman said the first day the kids returned to school in January was absolute bedlam and pandemonium.

She said they were so excited to finally see the Activity Hallway and they couldn’t wait to try it.

“The kids absolutely love it.

“They had been peeking-in through the doorway during the holidays trying to see it.

“We hadn’t told them what was happening, so they could see something on the floor but they didn’t know what it was.

“The first week was crazy but now they all follow the rules when using it, and it’s something that focuses on the kids’ needs so it’s proving itself to be a great addition to our school.”