Win 4 Kids Finalist- Crystal Bay Centre for Special Education

Crystal_Bay_Centre_for_Special_Education_PHOTO_2.jpgChildren who attend Crystal Bay Centre for Special Education are developmentally delayed and have other kinds of disabilities. The school has an enrollment of 96 students who range in age from 4 to 21 years. 

The current Physical Education Program runs five days a week and serves all the children at this school.  All classes are forty minutes long and are taught by a physical education specialist who has a real understanding of how these children develop and the kind of equipment that they need. In addition, to the regular gym program, the students participate in other events such as the Terry Fox Walk, a Board-wide track and field day, and an activity day for children with special needs.

“We want all our students to play and to have fun at school” says Karen Landheer, who nominated the Physical Education Program. “Because of our student population, we have limited means for fund-raising so we look for other ways to obtain new equipment.” 

The goal of this school is to create a safe, happy and busy environment where independence, communication and life skills are learned. The fitness program accommodates the physical needs of the students using modified and specialized apparatus. Funds provided by Win 4 Kids would be used to purchase new equipment.

The specialized equipment would include new mats, crawl tunnels, low steps and wedges, a variety of balls, low nets, balance pads and balance beams. All our students are encouraged to be as active as possible while they are here because many of them (like many of us) become more sedentary as they grow older. 


Crystal Bay Center for Special Education is indeed a very special place to learn and grow.  Despite the challenges these students face every day, they come to school eager to learn and always amaze us with their resilience. Crystal Bay is a regional school that serves the western half of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Students come from a variety of socio economic backgrounds and have a rich ethnic diversity. All students receive specialized transport to our school. Being a regional school, we don’t have an immediate “community area” from which to fundraise and to raise awareness of our issues.

– Karen, Principal 

Crystal Bay Centre for Special Education is a school that strives to meet the diverse needs of our students. All of our students have exceptional needs and truly benefit from physical activity. We have a wonderful Physical Education Program but the equipment that we require for the students is very expensive. This specialized equipment ensures that no student is left behind and allows our students to turn their disabilities into abilities. This grant would help us promote and develop our students’ independence, self-confidence and motor skills.

– Jenn, Teacher 

As an educational assistant at Crystal Bay, I’ve seen firsthand how physical activities can benefit our students. Our students have many physical needs and often require very specialized equipment in order for them to be able to participate fully in physical education activities. All the students love to go to gym and they enjoy the ability to move around freely. As our students get older, it is even more important for them to remain physically active. It becomes more difficult to motivate them to engage in activities in order to maintain a healthy body and to keep mobile for as long as possible. This grant will help to motivate the students to remain active throughout their school here at Crystal Bay by enabling us to purchase specialized gym equipment for all ages and abilities.

– Alyson, Educational Assistant 


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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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