ProjectActive at Eardley Elementary School

Group photo of ProjectActive coordinators and participants

The Western Québec School Board serves numerous students with diverse needs, abilities and learning profiles.  Our dedicated members of staff strive to ensure all students with exceptionalities benefit from a quality educational experience.  This is accomplished through the delivery of dynamic lessons designed to meet the needs of all students.  It is also accomplished through exposure to enriching experiences outside the classroom.

A group of WQSB staff members worked together to organize “ProjectActive,” a sporting event specifically catered to neurodivergent students.  The event began in 2007 at Hadley Junior/Philemon Wright High School and ran until 2018. Special Education Technician Brad Snooks was the main coordinator for the event back then, with the support of the physical education department and their advanced physical education classes.

After a hiatus of several years, devoted staff members decided the event should be resurrected and struck a committee. There was a great deal of planning for this event including finding funding for school buses, preparing resources, attaining the necessary adaptive equipment and managing other integral aspects to ensure the overall success of ProjectActive. This year’s committee members were Brad Snooks, principal Julia Horner, parent-volunteer Ryan Sullivan, and from the school board Helene Carrière, Janet Sauvé, Andrea Gage and Lisa Falasconi.

Brad Snooks, now at Eardley Elementary School, took the lead once again after Ms. Horner pitched the idea of bringing back ProjectActive and hosting it at Eardley. Mr. Snooks jumped at the idea, and started working on adjustments to the programming, adapting it for younger students.

The grade 5 and 6 Leadership Group at Eardley were the facilitators during the day, setting up the games and animating different stations by explaining rules as well as demonstrating. Throughout the school year, extra training sessions were held with student leaders as this was the first time for many working with a neurodivergent group of students. “Their willingness to be leaders and great animators was instrumental in the day’s success,” shared Mr. Snooks.

Principal Horner was key in communicating with the schools to ensure they had the information for the day and in coordinating the buses and funds. In attendance were Dr. S.E. McDowell Elementary, Lord Aylmer Elementary, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary, Poltimore Elementary and South Hull Elementary. “The intention is to provide a day of community building and fun for students who may not always be able to participate in other school events fully,” shares Julia.

Eardley had outdoor and indoor activities set up. Rotations included soccer baseball, basketball, floor hockey, kinball and races. There was also a dance party in the cafeteria, facepainting and photo booth stations.  T-shirts and medals were given to all participating students.  Key partners for the event, Connexions and Special Olympics Québec, also provided “goodie bags” for the athletes.

The weather was perfect and ProjectActive was a hit with everyone in attendance! There were smiles, laughter and special moments for the students and adults on hand.

Eardley Elementary is already planning to host the 2024-2025 ProjectActive event for the Fall. They also plan to partner with the leadership students at Symmes Junior/D’Arcy McGee High School to help facilitate it. Eardley staff and committee members are excited to see how ProjectActive will continue to develop and flourish in years to come.

Special thank you to Julia Horner and Brad Snooks for providing the information for this article.

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