If you haven’t seen it already, check out Noozhawk’s After-School Activities Guide, which has activity listings for and Q&As with local after-school programs.

Noozhawk recently had the opportunity to sit down with Terry Tonius, skating director at Ice in Paradise, at 6985 Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta, about its skating school.

Ice in Paradise

Question: Which ages/age groups are appropriate for your program?

Answer: We have our skating school, which is an ongoing, year-round program. The youngest is our Tots class for ages 3 to 5, Little Folks for ages 5 to 7, and it goes up from there. We also offer adult class that run simultaneously with the children’s classes so both parents and their kids can practice at the same time if needed.

Q: When was the program/after-school activity first started?

A: When we first opened the rink last October.

Q: What was the thought behind creating the program?

A: Our program was based on recreational skating or a more serious competitive skater. So all of the kids start as recreational, but if they fall in love with it, they can stay in the program because we have classes that go all the way through the Academy level. We also do exhibitions and ice shows. We are pretty comprehensive with giving kids goals and providing opportunities for them to achieve those goals.

There is a lot of disciplining that goes into skating that kids aren’t necessarily used to. We are teaching the kids a lot about life skills, about falling down and getting up, being persistent, trying to improve, and not relying on getting instant gratification. You have to really work to succeed, but once they achieve that success, it’s that feeling that encourages them to continue and grow as skaters.

Q: What are your goals for kids who participate?

A: Our after-school program has a lot of benefits from the life skills point of view, as well as from the physical and artistic side. We’ve found that children can relate more with skating than other sports because of the musical element, which enhances their creative side.

In the end, it really is up to them what they want to achieve. In addition to attending skating school classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the kids who are more competitive will often come to the rink daily during their free time.

For children who fall in love with the competitive side of ice skating, the Ice in Paradise program offers classes through the Academy level.
For children who fall in love with the competitive side of ice skating, the Ice in Paradise program offers classes through the Academy level. (Ice in Paradise photo)

Q: Which sorts of activities can parents expect their children to participate in?

A: We do some on-ice games, but it’s mainly about skating and training while having fun. With the Little Folks and Tots, we’ll have them play games and chase bubbles so they learn how to balance and navigate while on the ice. Apart from that, we also have opportunities to perform at holiday shows and will be having exhibitions throughout the year.

Q: Is there a particular activity that most students enjoy more than another?

A: If they’ve been working on a particular skill, like skating backward, for example, and it’s been elusive to them, and then all of a sudden one day they get it, it can be really exciting and rewarding. So the next time they come in they’ll want to do it exactly the same as the day before, but that’s why skating is so beneficial. It teaches you the importance of repetition because it’s not going to be that easy to do again. You don’t always have it, but you will get it back again if you keep trying.

Q: How is your program unique from other after-school activities in the area?

A: It’s unique from the standpoint that it makes kids more aware of their bodies and the condition of their bodies. They become more aware of themselves in space because when you’re on skates, you really have to think about each movement. It’s really fine-tuning your body awareness, which is key to using the right muscles and staying healthy. All of the muscles we use in skating breed healthy living for later on in life, even if you don’t keep at it.

Q: Does your program touch on any school subjects? And if so, which?

A: We talk a lot about physics in skating. The physical nature of the blade on the ice is what creates balance and what creates glide. Friction is created by the blade when it runs across the ice, and the weight of your body melts the ice and creates a little bit of water the allows the blade to glide. The better balance you have, the longer you can glide. All of these scientific approaches are used to teach skating.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell parents who might be interested in putting their children in your program?

A: I would like to emphasize how beneficial the unique growth is that skating creates physically and mentally, and in a lot of cases, because it is so unique, skating experience has become a key part of college applications.

As a nonprofit, we also offer community service opportunities through our program that can help bolster college applications. We are also starting an Ice Ambassadors Club for adults who are interested.

Click here for more information about the Ice in Paradise skating school, or call 805.879.1550.