Children with Special Educational Needs
All children, regardless of ability, deserve access to a quality health and physical activity program. With input from support staff, ensure that program modifications are put in place to support children with special educational needs so that they have the opportunity to perform to their full potential. Be familiar with children’s Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and establish good communication with children and their parents to develop a better understanding of how to meet their special needs and personal safety considerations. Routines that are repeatedly reinforced establish predictable expectations and a consistent environment in which all children can be safe.
More detailed information about planning programs for children with special educational needs, including children who require alternative programs, can be found in The Individual Education Plan (IEP): A Resource Guide, 2004 .
Considerations for English Language Learners
Health and physical activity provides English language learners with multiple modes of expression beyond written and oral texts, and supports achievement for these learners across the curriculum. Responsibility for children’s English language development is shared by the classroom teacher, the ESL/ELD teacher (where available) and other school staff, including Early Learning-Kindergarten team members.
Health and physical activity Early Learning-Kindergarten teams must adapt the instructional program in order to facilitate the success of these children in the program. Appropriate adaptations for health and physical activity include the following:
- modification of learning expectations to ensure they are challenging but attainable;
- varied instructional strategies (e.g., modelling, peer support, music, movement, gestures, strategic use of children’s first language);
- varied learning resources (e.g., simplified text, graphic representations, word walls, songs, bilingual dictionaries) that reflect cultural diversity; and
- assessment accommodations when appropriate (e.g., provision of extra time, oral interviews, portfolios, presentations, demonstrations, graphic organizers).
For further information on supporting English language learners, Early Learning–Kindergarten teams may consult the following Ministry resource documents:
- English Language Learners – ESL and ELD Programs and Services: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12, 2007
- Many Roots, Many Voices: Supporting English Language Learners in Every Classroom – A Practical Guide for Ontario Educators, 2005
- Supporting English Language Learners in Kindergarten – A Practical Guide for Ontario Educators, 2007
Suggestions for Integration
The following modifications will help to accommodate the various needs of children who experience greater challenges with physical education. The types of integration used will depend on the ability of each child and the activity in which he or she is participating.
- Time (e.g., offer frequent breaks or allow children extra hits or bounces of the ball)
- Equipment (e.g., use lighter, softer balls or allow foam pieces to extend a child’s reach in tag activities)
- Area (e.g., decrease activity area or use barriers around a group to decrease the distance the ball may travel)
- Number of Students (e.g., put children in pairs for running activities, so that each child runs part of the way or so that partners run separately in tag games and both must be tagged for the pair to be “out”)
- Programming (e.g., offer a variety of activities for all skill levels and pair or group children according to their abilities)
- Instructions (e.g., use demonstrations and keep instructions specific and brief, using verbal prompts if necessary, to ensure clarity for children who have difficulties following instructions)
Adapted from Daily Physical Activity In Schools: Grades 1 to 3, p.12-14, Ontario Ministry of Education, © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2005.
For more information regarding inclusive physical activity and for support in creating an inclusive environment for children with disabilities, refer to Ophea’s Steps to Inclusion.
Refer to The Kindergarten Program, for more information on creating inclusive environments.