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Young Athletes

Special Olympics Young Athletes™ is an inclusive early childhood sports and educational play program for children aged 2 to 7 years old, with and without intellectual disabilities, that includes games, songs and other fun, physical activities.  With an emphasis on training and participation through activities and play, rather than competition, young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball, and playing with others. Young Athletes™ also provides children with gross motor skills training, group interaction and socialization opportunities.  These basic skills will prepare the Young Athletes for future participation in sports.

Video courtesy of Special Olympics Minnesota

Benefits of Participation

  • Increases a young child’s strength and coordination in preparation for sports participation.
  • Inclusive sports and education opportunity for children ages 2-7 with or without disabilities
  • Introduces young children to group play, cooperation and awareness of rules.
  • Focus placed on socialization, interaction and fun.
  • Teaches “everyday” skills
  • Fosters family interaction
  • Provides an opportunity for younger participants that are not eligible for Special Olympics sports

Parents:  Young Athletes offers fun and fitness for the whole family!

  • Parent/Child activity group where the whole family can exercise together!
  • Siblings are welcome to participate!
  • Families make meaningful connections and exchange valuable resources

Special Education Teachers:  Young Athletes is a great addition to your classroom!  Available to Early Head Start, Head Start, Preschool and classrooms Kindergarten through 2nd grade.

Young Athletes includes:
– Curriculum
– Equipment kit with balls, cones, balance beam, etc.
– Access to tons of online resources and videos
– Training provided by Special Olympics North Carolina staff or volunteers
– All students participate, regardless of diagnosis

Introducing the Young Athletes™ Curriculum

The new Young Athletes™ Curriculum builds on the Young Athletes™ Activity Guide and training videos, now providing scripted lesson plans for use over an 8 week period.   Each week has three days of lesson plans for a total of 24 days.

Lessons are designed to be offered in sequence to help children become acquainted with the activities and build skills through repetition.