Movement skills made fun
By GoodLife Kids on 16/11/2016
Active play leads to development at Niagara Support Services’
Children’s Movement Program
Monday has become the best day of the week for a group of children with developmental disabilities in Niagara Falls. Why, you ask? Because Monday is when they get to attend the Children’s Movement Program run by Niagara Support Services.
Play is the name of the game, but let me assure you, it isn’t just a free-for-all. The program is supervised by a Movement Specialist with a background in kinesiology and autism behaviour and supported by a team of dedicated volunteers. Based on initial assessments, participants work toward individual goals such as improved coordination, spatial awareness, balance, range of motion, flexibility and strength. This sounds like hard work, so why do kids love it? The trick is what Movement Specialist Darren Korpela calls “embedded activities.”
Gym activities are all play-based for maximum engagement. “Most of the time, the kids are having so much fun that they won’t realize that they are also helping their bodies in targeted ways,” explains Korpela. “For example, riding a bicycle along a marked track can help train spatial awareness or reaching to get a ball in the net can work on range of motion.” Kids also have the added benefit of spending time with peers and developing social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and encouraging others.
Korpela, who has been a GoodLife Member on-and-off for over 14 years, is very grateful for GoodLife Kids Foundation’s support of the Children’s Movement Program with a grant of $10,000 to help with staffing and equipment costs this year. “It is absolutely amazing knowing that there is someone out there that really wants to help these kids,” he says. “Movement is especially important in the context of disability, and kids learn habits early on. By helping them to develop skills through physical activity, we hope it leads to a lifetime of being active and a better overall quality of life.”
“GoodLife has helped me work toward my personal fitness goals for years,” says Korpela. “It is really special to see them giving back through GoodLife Kids Foundation in my community and to an organization that is so important to me. Thank you so much for supporting these kids!”
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About the Author
GoodLife Kids Foundation shares resources and links to help you provide a healthier and more physically active lifestyle for the children in your life.