Special Olympics PEI Hosts SO Fun Days

Special Olympics PEI, SO Fun Days, Inclusive Sport Fair, Inclusion

Following a 2 year pause due to COVID-19 restrictions, Special Olympics PEI was thrilled to once again host our SO Fun Days this Fall.  Throughout the month of November we hosted 8 events. Thanks to these events 393 students with an intellectual disability and 428 student leaders, from 44 schools, were introduced to the benefits of Special Olympics programs.

SO Fun Day are half day multi-sport festivals. Students with an intellectual disability have the opportunity to try a variety of different Special Olympics sports, in a participatory environment. Students with an intellectual disability have the opportunity to rotate through a number of different sport stations, while leadership students are invited to either volunteer at the different sport stations, or rotate through the sport stations with their peers, acting as peer buddies. At each station students participate in a variety of activities that offer an introduction to many official Special Olympics sports, including: basketball, soccer, bowling, rhythmic gymnastics, athletics, bocce, and softball. Additionally, students, along with their teachers and educational assistants, visit a station to learn about Special Olympics’ youth programs – Active Start and FUNdamentals. It is here that teachers are able to see firsthand how Special Olympics programs can be used to assist students with an intellectual disability in their schools.

SO Fun Days are open to all students (K-12) with an intellectual disability (regardless of whether the student has a formal diagnosis or not) and Leadership Students (or student leaders within the school), as well as Teachers (Physical Education, Resource, Inclusive Education, or other), Educational Assistants, and anyone who wants to know more about Special Olympics.

The goal of these events is to showcase the resources, materials, equipment and training opportunities Special Olympics has to offer Island educators and their students. We wish to present Special Olympics as an additional resource to Island schools. Our mandate is to help promote physical literacy amongst students with an intellectual disability. At the same time, we want to offer student leaders with a Service Learning opportunity. By bringing these students together we believe that we can positively contribute to a more understanding environment for all students.

The eight host schools for this year’s SO Fun Days were: Birchwood Intermediate, Montague Intermediate, Stonepark Intermediate, Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Hernewood Intermediate, Morell Regional High, Bluefield Senior High and Summerside Intermediate.  Leadership students from host schools volunteered at their SO Fun Day, running the various sport stations. Ahead of the event, these students learned about different adaptations and modifications so that all students would have the opportunity to participate at every sport stations. 

Several host schools, Bluefield, Morell, and Kensington, were involved in the event planning from the beginning, using these SO Fun Days as a Service Learning Opportunity.  During an in-class session with staff from Special Olympics PEI, students learned all about Special Olympics, and were given the opportunity to design the sport stations. Students were asked to create activities, for their selected sport, meant to reinforce a paired fundamental movement skill.  The soccer station, for example, would design activities which involve the skill of kicking. Going one step further, these students then looked at ways to modify and adapt their activities for students of all ages and ability levels.  All activities planned were inclusive by their nature, with a role for the student with an intellectual disability, and a role for the leadership student acting as a peer buddy.