Life skills students at Deer Creek-Mackinaw Primary School will soon have new, accessible ways to meet physical education standards, while working to improve their physical and mental health.
Teacher Jennifer Turner recently received a THF grant to purchase materials to offer an adaptive physical education program for her students.
"My goal is to create more opportunities for my students to participate in activities outside the self-contained classroom," Turner said. "Physical education would be the most accessible area to impact the remaining school year significantly. To achieve this, we need funds and collaboration with PE teachers to purchase some items to facilitate the adaptation of physical education."
Items she intends to incorporate into an adaptive PE curriculum include adaptive exercise dice, a sliding zoom ball and adaptive basketball supplies.
"I am particularly excited about an adaptive basketball hoop, larger scooters that connect so that a paraprofessional can move with the students and adaptive balls for throwing and catching," she added. "We have also purchased adaptive bowling sets to encourage further participation in the Special Olympics."
Turner and her colleagues sought funding in hopes of meeting the varying needs and interests of their students.
"The general education PE equipment rarely meets the needs of our students," teacher Jason McCoy wrote in their grant application. "Our students are at different developmental levels, especially physically, and require materials that are both engaging and challenging in order to develop certain skills."
He added that the new equipment will be integrated into the school's current PE curriculum immediately upon receiving grant funds. Individualized units will be improved and students will have the opportunity to participate at their unique levels.
"The impact of the materials will improve the physical, mental and emotional health of our special education students," McCoy said. "New equipment will increase the engagement level for our special education students which, of course, will positively impact the entire school experience. Tasks will be more fun, students will become more fit, and this will allow them to have a more positive mindset for the rest of the school day."