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L'Equinoxe celebrates new school year

By Celina Ip

Daniel Mclaughlin and Vienna Kerr wave to their teachers and classmates before zipping down the inflatable slide.

Daniel Mclaughlin and Vienna Kerr wave to their teachers and classmates before zipping down the inflatable slide.


Students and staff at L’Equinoxe School celebrated ‘back to school’ in style on Sept. 7.


To positively kick off the new 2017-2018 school year, staff organized a celebratory event that provided all elementary and high school students with an afternoon of carefree fun.

The school teamed up with Ry-J’s to provide the youth with a number of inflatable activities including a ‘Wrecking Ball’ game, an obstacle course, a slide and a climbing wall.

Along with welcoming the students back, the event served to launch the beginning of a new year of the school’s Positive Behaviour Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.

The program is aimed at reinforcing and rewarding good behaviour based on the school’s three values of respect, responsibility and speaking French.

“For the elementary kids, every time they’re showing us respect or that they’re responsible or when we hear them speaking French in the hallways, we give them one ‘Dojo point’ and once they earn 10 or 20 or 30 points they get rewards,” said resource teacher Marie-Helene de Vries. “The whole class can also get points when all of the students fulfill an objective like being quiet in the hallways.”

Individual rewards vary from having chewing gum in class, listening to music, having a snack outside of the class or getting more time for recess. The class rewards can range from a movie day, popcorn and pizza or free time on the play structure outside.

On the high school side, rather than Dojo points, the students earn points for the houses they are sorted into at the beginning of the year. The same day as the celebratory party, the 68 high school students were divided into four different houses during a Harry Potter-inspired sorting ceremony. The students were sorted into houses based on the four elements – earth, wind, fire, water – by using a gumball machine that dispensed four different gumballs to represent each element. The teenagers showed support of each other with cheers and applause as teacher Joel Bazinet announced each student’s house for the new year.

The high school students also work to display good behaviour based on the three values. Once their house earns enough points, they are treated to rewards such as an afternoon of karaoke, a dance party or a pizza lunch.

De Vries expressed that explicitly teaching important social skills and modelling and rewarding good behaviour is the best way to encourage and promote achievement in all areas of students’ lives.

“If we reward one kid for good behaviour, all of the other ones want to do the same things – and it's been working, we really believe in it,” said de Vries.


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