Jenelle Oschipok takes a shot during a game of sjoelbak at the Shuswap Middle School library on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2019. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm students embrace traditional screen-free fun

Author, former teacher-librarian Wilf Pauls champions classic board games at schools

Several traditional board games have been introduced to hundreds of children by a retired School District #83 teacher.

Wilf Pauls, a former teacher-librarian at Bastion Elementary School, retired from the district last November. Not able to stay away from education, Pauls got the idea of visiting schools throughout the Shuswap and sharing his love for traditional board games in the spring of 2019. His gaming crusade has only been on the road since October, but he has already reached well over 1,000 children within the district.

Read more: Salmon Arm couple to open sanctuary for fellow game lovers

Read more: Chief Atahm School in Shuswap launches Secwepemc language game series

Working with school librarians, Pauls brings in a few different games for the students. The games include sjoelbak, with origins in Holland and Belgium, pitchnut, a game with French Canadian origins, crokinole, similar to the Indian game carrom but considered a Canadian invention, and the more commercially available table hockey.

Pauls’ presentations of the games include an introduction of himself, an explanation of the rules to each game along with some of the game’s history. Then, depending on the time allotted, students spend 7-8 minutes on each game before rotating to the next. Once the students have played all the games, Pauls reads them his latest book based on a true story called The Crokinole Kid.

The book is based on his grandson learning to play crokinole and going to the BC Crokinole championships with his grandfather.

Different from board games normally found in libraries like chess or checkers, the games Pauls introduces he believes are more active and do more for the students.

“There are so many values that I see in this because it’s engaging,” Pauls said. “This will engage you socially, there is skill development, you learn how to win, you learn how to lose, you learn how to be gracious – the social value of this is incredible.”

Read more: Survive an Apocalypse in Kelowna with this virtual game

Read more: Watch: Kelowna man bowls perfect game

While Pauls is not against video games, he is concerned about video game addiction. This concern is one of the motivators behind his desire to keep teaching the games.

Megan Reed, a teacher-librarian at Shuswap Middle School (SMS) invited Wilf Pauls for a week-long series of classes. With three classes a day, each with around 50 students per class, Reed said that nearly the entire 668 student population of SMS had been taught the games.

“Everybody’s really enjoying it,” Reed said. “They’re meeting new kids, they’re socializing, they’re active and it’s just been a real hit.”

Read more: NHL players join Salmon Arm Silverbacks for Pro Am game

Read more: OPINION: Why do we keep having debates about video-game violence?

The games have been so popular that she has had kids come into the library in the morning before classes start to play the games. Due to the obvious popularity Reed is looking to acquire some games to keep in the library for good.

“I’m seeing a huge place for it and that’s really why I want to try and get some games into the library now,” Reed said. “There’s the whole social aspect and the interacting face to face and the reading people’s emotions and being kind.”


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Wilf Pauls presenting the history of crokinole at the Shuswap Middle School library on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2019. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Wendy Reed lines up a shot during a game of sjoelbak at the Shuswap Middle School library on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2019. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

James Cook takes a moment to focus during a game of sjoelbak at the Shuswap Middle School library on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2019. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

City of Enderby issues flood caution reminder

Rain in Sunday weather forecast could increase water levels and flow

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Salmon Arm man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Ken Derkach apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Big White Ski Resort to offer rebate for pass holders after early closure

Next year’s pass will include a 20 per cent rebate

‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

The foundation’s president said all ticks that attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Most Read