Muheim School has been hosting it’s own version of Quebec Winter Carnaval for more than 10 years and this year the snow is a welcome addition. In some recent years, the school has felt lucky when the Town was able to provide some snow to make the event a bit more realistic.
Eric Dufresne, a teacher at Muheim, said that the event has various learning objectives. For example, there are cultural objectives such as “la cabane au sucre” (making maple syrup candy) and the singing of traditional songs.
“Each of the outdoor activities represents a different component of the real carnaval of Quebec. Also, there are some social responsibility activities at play but ultimately it comes down to how much fun it can be,” he said.
“One year we had all the kids go on a dog sled ride. This is not what school was like when I was a kid,” he noted.
Lisa Torunski, a parent on the organizing committee, explained it was like carnaval in Quebec but Smithers style. She is involved with Canadian Parents for French, and feels that the winter event helps efforts for French immersion in the school.
“We want to bring French culture into the school and expose all the kids,” explains Toronski. “Carnaval is one way to do that, to explain all the different activities and to have one fun week in the middle of winter.”
“Once parents see what it’s all about, they get on board to help out. Other schools that hear about it try to use the same idea for their own,” she said.
This year, there was a wide variety of outdoor activities such as sleigh rides, snow painting, ice canoe races, hockey, face painting and skating.
“It brings out French culture but it is for everyone to enjoy. The events today are outdoors. But Tuesday we had pancakes, and we had a dance for the older kids,” she said.
Some of the events such as the ice canoe races need to be adapted but with a bit of ingenuity became a lot of fun. The ice canoes were made of cardboard and teams stood inside them to run.