ANDOVER — Being outdoors during the cold Maine winter is nothing new for Andover Elementary School students. However, they’ve had extra incentive lately because of the WinterKids program, for which they were selected to participate in during the month of January.

The school was one of two in Oxford County selected by the nonprofit organization to participate in outdoor winter activities to develop healthy lifelong habits through education and outdoor winter activities.

“(WinterKids) provided us with some really engaging activities,” Teaching Principal Karen Thurston said. “Part of the goals (and) the resources that they provided us (with was) as an extra incentive to get the kids outside more than just for recess.” 

By meeting the goals set by the program, schools can win cash prizes, author visits, or L.L.Bean snowshoes. “The two things that kind of added to the kids’ excitement was the ability of winning money or winning snowshoes,” Thurston said.

“We have a really great group that just likes to be outdoors and we’re an active community so we’re giving them more opportunities to express their learning outside and in more ways than just in the classroom,” she said.

On Friday afternoon the school held its WinterKids Winter Games closing ceremony and the pupils received a send-off for their outdoor activities from their school band, which sang and played “We Will Rock You.” 


The school will find out which prizes they won in February after school vacation.

Andover Elementary School Teaching Principal Karen Thurston, rear, slides down the “mountain” in the schoolyard with kindergartner Matayiah Zitoli during the school’s WinterKids Winter Carnival celebration Friday. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson)

First-grader Adalyn Swasey, left, and pre-kindergarten pupils Emma Andexler, Lucius Posyton, Truly Woodbury and teacher Andrea Angotti get ready to go outside for Andover Elementary School’s WinterKids Winter Carnival on Friday. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson)

Andover Elementary School fourth-graders, from left, Molly Cole, Lilah Sharkey and Hannah Stetson snowshoe and cross-country ski during the school’s WinterKids Winter Carnival celebration Friday. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson)

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