The PrideHouse That Kids Built will promote inclusion in sport among Ontario elementary students

TORONTO, April 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Many students face obstacles to participating in sports and recreation, from teasing to poor self-image, differing abilities, stereotyping, bullying and lacking the means to join in. A unique Ontario school resource, called The PrideHouse That Kids Built, for elementary students will encourage discussions on inclusion in sport and provide students with the opportunity to be part of a unique art installation for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals and the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games official mascot PACHI helped launch the initiative with elementary students at an inner city Toronto school. Designed by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) for PrideHouse Toronto, The PrideHouse That Kids Built features an elementary teacher resource centred around nine original short stories about inclusion, written by David S. Craig. The booklet is being distributed to all Ontario elementary schools in April.

As part of the classroom learning and activities, students will decorate cardboard 'bricks' or panels with their thoughts and reflections on what inclusion in sport means. These panels will be used by Toronto professional artists Kalpna Patel and Sean Martindale to build a unique art installation for a high traffic visitor site during the TORONTO 2015 Games.

"Given that fewer young people are playing sports, we want to hear from students around the province how young people could be made to feel more safe and welcome in sports, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth," said Catherine Meade, co-chair of PrideHouse Toronto.

"The PrideHouse That Kids Built will assist teachers to have age-appropriate discussions with elementary students about the importance of equity and inclusion in sports and recreation regardless of ability/disability, race, gender, ethnicity and culture, or sexual orientation," added ETFO First Vice-President Susan Swackhammer.

PrideHouseTO is a coalition of organizations from all sectors working to ensure the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games are the most LGBTQ-inclusive Games in history. (www.PrideHouseTO.ca)

ETFO represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals in Ontario.

SOURCE PrideHouse Toronto

Image with caption: "TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games mascot PACHI and Olympian Rosie Cossar help launch The PrideHouse That Kids Built with elementary students. (CNW Group/PrideHouse Toronto)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150409_C4757_PHOTO_EN_14084.jpg

For further information: Valerie Dugale, Media Lead, PrideHouseTO/ ETFO, 416-948-0195, communications@pridehouseto.ca, @pridehouseto

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