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Climbing and the Manitoba Cirriculum:


Help Your Parent Council, Staff and Administration Understand the Benefits of Climbing / Bouldering as a part of your Physical Education Program:

First off, what is Bouldering?

Bouldering is defined as climbing close to the ground, where a rope is unnecessary. Bouldering is the preferred method of training for advanced climbers, since there are no wait times and no expensive equipment is required. Due to its non-threatening nature, bouldering is an excellent introduction for new climbers especially. Bouldering has recently become a separate sport from roped climbing altogether, with annual provincial, as well as national and international events.

Socially: Students develop a sense of teamwork, self confidence, trust, and a motivation to succeed. Also promotes trust, commitment, discipline, empathy, participation, and communication.

Mentally: Students are empowered with new ways to cope with fear, stress, and overcoming obstacles. While climbing, students must focus on a single task, an increasingly rare occurrence in this age of multitasking. Also promotes critical thinking, risk taking, and goal setting.

Physically: Muscular endurance / strength, balance, flexibility, motor skill development, coordination, and even cardio respiratory fitness if pursued at a more vigorous pace.

Climbing and bouldering is also really fun.

*Most students do not enjoy doing pushups, chin ups or sit ups, most people do not enjoy these exercises. We know as Physical Educators that doing these exercises on a regular basis is extremely beneficial to upper body, and core strength development. While climbing, a person will do these exercises over and over without even realizing it.

Other benefits of climbing
Climbing will enhance a person's problem-solving skills while they try to negotiate through various routes (Mittelstaedt, 1997). Walker (1997) states that "by following or choosing a route or path in a climbing gym, you will be strengthening your mind, both halves of the brain, by using logic, spatial awareness, problem solving skills, ingenuity and imagination, all under physical exertion". Traditionally, physical educators teach sport and game skills to improve student health and well-being. Climbing encourages the focus to individual needs without the emphases on competition (McNeill, 1994).
There are students in your program that thrive on competition, and others that seek more intrinsic rewards. Phys. Ed programs in recent years have been attempting to incorporate more 'Active Lifestyle' kinds of activities into the PE class, balancing activities such as skiing, hiking, juggling, cycling and the traditional team sports. Equipment becomes an issue, for example, soccer only requires one ball, but skiing requires a set of skis for each student. A climbing wall is one piece of equipment that will last for years and can be used by half of the class at once.

When the bouldering wall is being used, it is the responsibility of the supervising teacher to make certain that safety measures are adhered to. For up to date safety measures for bouldering and climbing related activities, refer to the 'Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Manitoba Schools: Amended Version' available in PDF format on the MPETA website, and the 'YouthSafe Manitoba Outdoor Education Resource' available on CD from your division. When supervisory staff are not present, it is the responsibility of school staff to make certain that the bouldering wall is not accessible.

Games on the bouldering wall are fun and create interest. They can add to the value of the workout by creating an enjoyable atmosphere and usually extend the length of the workout. See our 'games' section for climbing wall games.

Coming Soon:
Which learning outcomes a climbing program incorporate into your program.