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: Two to six
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.