Canadian Paralympic Committee unveils world-leading Paralympic FUNdamentals physical literacy resource for schools across Canada

October 8, 2014

Free resource for educators in Canada sets a leading standard for international best practices designed to usher in a new era of inclusiveness to help students of all abilities play and learn together

Children playing volleyball

OTTAWA, October 8, 2014 – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased to announce the availability of its revolutionary new resource that will help educators teach fundamental movement skills and enable children of all abilities to play sports together at school.

Developed over the past two years in partnership with Physical and Health Education Canada, the Paralympic FUNdamentals Physical Literacy Resource is available online at education.paralympic.ca for free to educators across Canada. The resource was developed with representatives from the sports of boccia, sitting volleyball, goalball and athletics.

Some 200 individuals and organizations have already pre-registered for the FUNdamentals resource. Lessons and activity plans are designed to ensure all children, regardless of ability, are provided with access to quality physical education and sport opportunities, while supporting teachers with a variety of assessment options and links to provincial curricula. This resource also supports families in encouraging the further development of their children by providing a list of activities that everyone can take part in at home.

“There’s a great deal of research telling us that many Canadians with a disability are unfortunately not active in sports, and so we are leveraging this new initiative so that children of all abilities can enjoy the benefits of physical activity,” said Karen O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Working closely with our partners, the Canadian Paralympic Committee is committed to helping build a strong sport system in Canada that is inclusive of people with a disability.”

The program is co-authored by Paralympic rower and Toronto special education teacher Victoria Nolan, who has a visual impairment.

"This resource is especially meaningful to me because I was not active in sport until I was 30 years old. That’s when I discovered parasport and my whole life changed,” said Nolan. “I went from lacking the opportunity to be active to becoming a world champion and Paralympian. With this resource, not only will we be able to help children with a disability realize their potential in sport, but we can also teach able-bodied children how to play parasports.

“As a teacher, I appreciate the way this resource puts all students at a level playing field and how much students must rely on cooperation and teamwork. This resource not only fulfills the Physical Education requirements of the curriculum, but also builds a sense of community within classes. I am really excited to be able to share these ideas across the country.”

“Sport plays an important part in Canadian culture, and our Government congratulates the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Physical and Health Education Canada on this initiative, which will help bring sport into the lives of students with disabilities,” said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “Not only will this program bring the joy of sport to our children, it may play a role in developing the next generation of Canadian parasport athletes.”

The Paralympic FUNdamentals resource curriculum was piloted last year in 42 elementary schools in seven provinces, involving 42 teachers and 1,410 students in Grades 2 to 6.

“The pilot programs received tremendous positive feedback,” said Chris Jones, Executive Director and CEO, Physical and Health Education Canada. “A solid foundation of physical and health education creates the potential for healthy, physically active lives. We would like to see this resource used in every elementary school in Canada.”

While the Paralympic FUNdamentals resource is designed with Canadian physical education curricula in mind, it has the potential to influence the world with its innovation.

“We believe this is a watershed moment for parasport in Canada and internationally, one which will pay dividends for Canadian Paralympic aspirations in the future,” added O’Neill. “An additional goal of the resource is to help increase participation in organized sport and build a stronger base for athletes who aim at becoming the next generation of Canadian Paralympians, as we look beyond Rio 2016 to future Paralympic Games.”

“Canada is re-inventing its sport and physical activity landscape based on Long-Term Athlete Development principles, and one of those key principles in that ALL children in Canada need to develop physical literacy,” said Colin Higgs, a member of the Canadian Sport for Life Leadership Team. “This resource will enable children with a disability to develop their physical literacy to the same extent as their non-disabled peers, and put them on the right path towards life-long healthy activity and potential podium performance.”

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world’s leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca

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For more information, please contact:

Alison Korn
Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Phone: 613-569-4333 ext. 243
Cell: 613-298-4927
akorn@paralympic.ca 

Martin Richard
Executive Director, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Tel: 613-569-4333 ext. 224
Cell: 613-725-4339
mrichard@paralympic.ca