Special Olympics: the “Young Athletes at Home” campaign
Children involved in the “Young Athletes” initiative (UNICEF Montenegro, Duško Miljanić, 2017)
“Young Athletes At Home” is an early childhood development program created by Special Olympics for children aged 2 -7 with and without intellectual disabilities. The program was developed to continue the “Young Athletes” initiative during the COVID-19 pandemics, when many of the organized in-person physical activities could not be implemented due to stay at home restrictions. To combat this, in Montenegro program coordinators and parents created their own activities (3 videos per week, 24 videos) to deliver the content remotely and allow children to keep playing and exercising using the TV and the provided sports equipment.
“Young Athletes At Home” aims to support social inclusion and inclusive play, as well as provide children with activities and games meeting their skills and ability levels. In addition, the program is designed to empower family members to acknowledge their child’s abilities and potential. The program is accompanied by materials in PDF and video format for parents and preschool teachers which can be translated and used locally. One such resource, the Young Athletes Educator Flashcards, is provided for teachers to use in the classroom to build social emotional learning (SEL) skills. An Activity Guide features activities that can be implemented in the classroom or at home by teachers and parents focused on different motor skills.
Enablers / Barriers:
The program uses easy to use and distribute digital materials like PDFs and Videos. No special equipment is necessary to open or run these materials. On the other hand, families need to have a computer, a laptop or a smartphone in order to be able to use the education materials.
UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Sports and Youth, Special Olympics International
COVID-19, Inclusive sport, Inclusive play, Intellectual Disabilities, Motor Impairments, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills