by Rebecca Virgin
November 14, 2005
There's no better way to start off a new school week than with a visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle were at Havenwood Public School in Mississauga on Monday afternoon to reward the school for their participation in the TD Waterhouse Leafs @ School program, with a special emphasis on their own curriculum section called Nutrition with Bryan and Tomas.
"Tomas and Bryan have their own curriculum and it's all about nutrition and that's something new," said Jennifer Millard, manager of Community Development for the Leafs. "It's about healthy eating, the importance of physical activity as it relates to body image, and kids learn the importance of taking care of your teeth and how to read food labels and things like that."
And nobody knows the importance of nutrition and physical fitness better than the defence pairing who are currently first and second in the National Hockey League in eating up ice time. McCabe admits that he did have to learn about nutrition as he got older though.
"I was a chunky kid growing up," said McCabe. "I got teased a little bit, but as I grew older I learned what nutrition meant and to not eat McDonald's everyday of my life and enjoy gym class and walking and running and playing street hockey, and all that stuff will benefit you in the end."
The entire school gathered in the gymnasium to welcome McCabe and Kaberle, and a few lucky students were selected to ask them questions. One student even got to go head-to-head against McCabe in a push-up contest.
The students weren't the only excited ones though, Grade 4 teacher Tracey Brent was instrumental in winning the school visit. Brent says that the Leafs @ School curriculum helps her teach her students and keeps them interested.
"It was really motivating for them because otherwise they didn't like to do the activities that we had," said Brent. "It was real life for them, it was stuff they were interested in and it was a fun activity."
And that's exactly what the progam aims to do.
"We know that childhood obesity rates are on the rise, kids are getting less gym time and they're more sedentary," said Millard. "Kids are playing video games, they're not playing as much sports. We know that it's sort of a burning issue in terms of what teachers are worried about so we thought it was an important part of the curriculum that we needed to add."
The program also includes sections called Math with Mats Sundin and Language with Eric Lindros and is available on-line at www.leafsatschool.com.