The Play Beyond The Label movement is focused on building a sense of belonging through three key concepts:
Quality physical activity is the vehicle enabling all learners to play. Intentional programming will not only ensure that learners are participating, but also building the skills and knowledge to experience the joy of movement.
Creating an inclusive environment requires a mindset that goes beyond the framework of a well-planned program. It involves an understanding of preferences, appropriate accommodations and modifications for each unique learner.
Recognize the label as the gateway to appropriate and meaningful programming. Acceptance starts by understanding these labels without ignoring or denying the disability.
We are Ontario educators with qualifications in Health & Physical Education and Special Education. As educators, we all want our learners to identify with, and value their own learning. Together we have joined forces to focus on our common goal of delivering a platform to network, learn, and share our passion in educating learners of all ages and abilities.
From a young age, special needs was “normal” to me as I grew up with a brother who was exceptional. I visited his classrooms and created visuals to support him at home to be successful at school. Twenty years ago, inclusion was not a priority in planning and programming for educators. However I was able to see the benefits and rewards that came from my brother’s friendships with his neurotypical peers. When I became a teacher, there was no doubt I would pursue Special Education, and believe in teaching and advocating for my students with their families in mind.
Movement has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up in a family where I was given many opportunities to explore physical activity in a variety of ways. To be honest, I never understood the complexities of accessibility in physical activity until I had my first born child who was born with special needs. Learning how to navigate the system and advocating for the appropriate resources opened my eyes to the inequality of supports for her varying disabilities. The life lessons with my daughter have always motivated me to foster the learning in Health & Physical Education in shaping my students’ views about life, relationships, healthy development, physical activity, and how they learn.
Play Beyond The Label workshops are developed by educators qualified in Special Education and Health & Physical Education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workshops will only be offered on a virtual platform.
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