The NSC CanSkate program is a fun, recreational learn-to-skate program designed for children who are at least 5 years of age by the end of December of the current year. The goal of the program is to help skaters develop balance and coordination on ice. The program is designed for all children, those who have never skated as well as those who have some skating experience. The basic skills taught in the CanSkate program are a benefit to all children regardless of which ice sport they prefer to progress into: figure skating, hockey, ringette, speed skating and recreational skating.
Each CanSkate session runs for 60 minutes. You may wish to sign up for two sessions per week since progress is much better with more ice time. In addition, the twice-a-week price is discounted significantly.
CanSkate is offered weeknights and weekends. Each class runs exactly the same way and is organized to handle all levels of skaters.
Children are separated into colour-coded groups based on their age and ability. Our goal is for groups of a maximum of 7-8 skaters. Skaters in the CanSkate program progress through six levels of skating skills demonstrating skills in three zones (Agility, Balance and Control). The fourth zone is the "Fun Zone". This zone is made to practice skills the skaters have learned, but also for some fun in a structured environment. There will be more props and "toys" for the skaters to use in this zone. Please see the Progression Chart for a description of the skills that are taught. Each skater will progress through these skills at their own pace.
Ribbons are awarded at the completion of each level (eg. Balance 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6). When all three ribbons in a specific level (eg. Balance 1, Agility 1, and Control 1) have been earned, the corresponding badge will be awarded. Report cards are distributed at the Christmas break and at the end of the session.
Each CanSkate session runs as follows:
- The first 8 minutes consists of a warm-up for all skaters led by a coach. The skaters are then separated into their their groups.
- Skaters, in their groups, proceed through the 4 "zones", each zone for 10 minutes, each with a different coach. The fundamental movements are covered in all of these zones with fun and energetic teaching methods.
- There is a 1 minute "Fast Track" between group rotations - this allows the skaters to use the full ice and work on increased stride lengths.
- The session ends with a group activity followed by a cool down led by a coach.
- Each child's skill level is reviewed and evaluated during every group lesson with the professional coaches and badges are awarded as quickly as these skills can be mastered.
Parents are not allowed on the ice, but must stay in the arena while the child is on the ice. There is a heated viewing area for parents.
CSA-approved hockey helmets are mandatory for the child to be allowed on the ice. Most children, especially the younger ones, wear snowpants or splash pants to remain warm and dry. Waterproof mitts or gloves are required.
Note to parents: The Town of Newmarket offers an Adult Learn-to-Skate program.