The Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP), presented by RBC Financial Group, has experienced exponential growth in the month of January, with its membership base surging past 50,000. Over the past three years membership has more than tripled, growing to the current membership which stands at over 52,500 teachers, principals and students who are passionate about the Olympic Games and the Canadian Olympic Team.
“The growth has far exceeded our wildest dreams,” said Bruce Deacon, Manager of Education for the Canadian Olympic Committee. “When we moved the COSP program from curriculum-based to values-based content in 2007, we knew that it would lead to growth, but we had no idea that the growth would be this dramatic.”
Since 1988, COSP has provided Canadian teachers with Olympic-themed resources. It is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s primary education program, aiming to reach students between Grades 2 and 12. Found online at http://www.olympicschool.ca, COSP is filled with free values-based lesson plans, polls, contests, games and interactive components.
The vigorous growth in the Canadian Olympic School Program membership in 2010 is fuelled by the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, inspiring passion in both teachers and students. COSP was also active in the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, partnering with RBC to hold a contest to encourage students to create a better Canada by submitting class pledges to improve their communities, be more environmentally-friendly, or live healthier lifestyles, for a chance to carry the Olympic Flame.
The program has grown steadily since 2007 when it had 14,000 members, however membership numbers rocketed for the 2009-2010 school year. Driven by a new look and feel to the program, membership progressively grew to 18,000 in 2008 and 33,000 in December 2009 – before leaping one month later to over 52,500.
“Last September, Olympic Spirit really began flowing through Canadian schools,” said David Bedford, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at the Canadian Olympic Committee. “Even still, the membership numbers really exploded this January with the launch of our Paint the Town Red School Kit.”
The Paint the Town Red School Kit provides teachers and students various tools to help them demonstrate their support for Canada’s Olympians and to follow the 2010 Olympic action as a class. Resources help schools host an Olympic winter sports day, and teachers to create their own “Let’s Go Canada” classroom bulletin board, chronicling the excitement of the Games in a daily writing journal.
At the elementary school level, the COSP curriculum teaches students the Olympic values of fairness, excellence, leadership, respect, physical activity and sustainability through stories from famous Canadian Olympians such as Gaétan Boucher, Kristi Richards, Beckie Scott, and Nathalie Lambert. Each lesson comes in three different reading levels: Bronze (grade 2-3), Silver (grade 4-5) and Gold (grade 6-7).
At the secondary school level, students are able to link to applied learning projects which will require them to use acquired skills and theory in hands on ways to solve real-life Olympic problems.
RBC has been involved with the Canadian Olympic Movement since 1947 and is the longest-standing corporate supporter of Canada’s Olympic Team. As a Canadian leader in supporting amateur sport, RBC is committed to educating youth on the merits of sport, through vehicles such as COSP, while also providing them with an opportunity to participate, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles.