The unique way one Winnipeg school is performing O Canada each day

WINNIPEG — It’s a tradition at the start of every school day. Students stand in the classroom and sing O Canada before school announcements and getting on with the day.

However, as with other changes in schools this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one Winnipeg school had to get creative to continue the daily singing of O Canada this year.

“We’re not allowed to sing right now in schools, and we get that to be safe, so we just didn’t want kids standing there and not participating in our national anthem,” said Jane Couch, the principal of Stevenson-Britannia School.

Couch said it was the school’s music teacher, Julianna Rempel, who came up with the idea to learn O Canada in American Sign Language (ASL) in discussions with other music teachers in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division.

The school reached out to Nola Bowering, the teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing in the school division, to teach Rempel O Canada in ASL. Bowering also created a video that can be shown on SMARTboards in the school’s classrooms.

o canada sign language

(Source: Jane Couch)

Couch said students have been trying their best each day to learn the sign language for the anthem.

“The kids learn a little something new every day, and try it every day,” Couch said.

Couch said the sign language performance of the national anthem will continue throughout the year.

“I can envision us, once we are allowed to sing, I’m sure kids will be continuing to sign just out of habit and out of pride too, that they’ve learned another way to communicate,” she said.

Couch added, “It’s been a really good start and a really good thing for our school community. We look forward to the time when we can actually gather together in the gym for an assembly potentially, and see all of us together, singing and signing together. That is my vision that I’m looking forward to.”

sign language

 (Source: Jane Couch)

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