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Wynne optimistic about extra-curriculars returning to classrooms

Ontario teachers protest at Queen's Park on Aug. 28, 2012. Some carried red signs that said: "Negotiate! Don't legislate," and "Respect collective bargaining rights"

There was no snarling or gnashing of teeth when Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team met with teachers unions and school board observers on Wednesday.

That has Wynne optimistic that sports and clubs can resume in public schools soon.

Wynne calls extra-curriculars critical for the well-being of students, citing this week’s TDSB report about students being stressed out.

“Academics are extremely important but if you can be part of a drama club, if you can be part of a robotics club or you can be part of a sports team, that’s a really good way to round out your experience. I believe that that reduces stress,” Wynne said. “I want extra-curriculars back and I want them back as soon as possible.”

But she won’t be ripping up the imposed teacher’s contracts to get the voluntary programs back.

Education minister Liz Sandals said the meeting among the transition team, teachers unions and school board officials on Wednesday had a positive tone.

“I think there’s consensus amongst everybody that it’s time to get things working again,” Sandals said.

“The students and the parents miss extra-curriculars, but so do the teachers. The teachers want the extra-curriculars back,” Sandals added.

The meeting lasted two hours and more meetings will be held this week.