The Young Athletes Program was established by Special Olympics International to provide early developmental opportunities for pre-school children, utilizing guided motor activities. It is based on a proto-type program created for Special Olympics New Jersey by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Children ages 2 ½ to 7 with intellectual disability typically have little access to motor activity programs , including organized play, and sports skill development. The activities presented in the program are designed to advance development of young children with intellectual disability who typically lag their peers without intellectual disability.
NOTE: This program is recommended to be implemented as an inclusive model (children with and without intellectual disability together) on a group basis and/or as a family based undertaking. The program, which has been implemented in many communities around the world can help prepare young children for future participation in sports, including making them ready earlier than would normally be the case.
The toolkit will continue to be expanded with the generous funding of Kim Samuel and the Samuel Family Foundation, so check back periodically for new materials.
tools provide background information about the Young Athletes
Core Program Activity Resources for Families, Coaches and TeachersThe Core Program Activity Guide includes user-friendly instructions and a complete list of sports activity equipment and alternatives needed to conduct the program. The design of this program provides flexibility for the parent, sibling, paraprofessional, teacher, and volunteer to conduct activities. The Young Athlete Program is designed to be used by parents in the home and can be used in a preschool/school environment, playgroup or one-on-one situation.
Young Athletes CurriculumThe Young Athletes™ Curriculum builds on the Young Athletes™ Core Program Activity Guide and training video resources, providing scripted Lesson Plans for you to use over an 8 week period. For each week there are 3 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.
Young Athletes Curriculum - Arabic Version
Young Athletes Curriculum - French Version
Young Athletes Curriculum - German Version
Young Athletes Curriculum - Russian Version
Young Athletes Curriculum - Spanish Version
Supplemental Resources for Families, Coaches and TeachersThese tools can enhance your Young Athletes
Operational Guidance and ResourcesThese tools will help Programs
build successful and sustainable Young Athletes programs.