Active Start is one of two initiatives developed by Special Olympics Canada for young athletes, along with FUNdamentals (for children ages seven to twelve). Program leaders introduce children to the world of sport by developing fundamental movement skills like walking, running, jumping and balancing. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older.
Age: 2 - 6 years
Priority: Active participation for fun
Objective: Develop play skills through movement and daily physical activity.
Skills: Walking, swimming, running, jumping and balancing.
The rationale behind Active Start is that when children with an intellectual disability receive early instruction in basic motor skills and have the opportunity to experience ‘play,’ there is improvement in their physical, social and cognitive abilities. Active Start provides lessons for young athletes to learn about running, kicking, throwing, and jumping, but then builds on these experiences from the gym and provides caregivers educational information and resources that allows them to offer similar opportunities in the home environment.
It is giving young children and their parents the opportunity to be involved in a fun but challenging activity in their community. I see families connecting with each other and children making friends. I see young athletes becoming more confident in trying new activities and improving their skills. I see smiles, high fives, and pure excitement.
The most amazing thing I see is these young athletes with challenges, enjoying physical activity and sport, feeling safe and confident to participate. This experience will now help them be more active as they grow. So exciting!
- Melanie Harris, Active Start Volunteer
To register an athlete in a program contact your local Special Olympics program or the contact person provided. For general inquiries about the Active Start and FUNdamentals programs please contact:
Youth & Sport Development