There will be many special
needs pupils who have not enjoyed the experience of early play with their
peers. Such play as rolling, tumbling, climbing, jumping, swinging etc.
was denied them perhaps because of parental anxieties or, social marginalisation
or due to poor mobility, poor language etc... Whatever the reason for such
a loss, school must attempt to give opportunities to catch up.
Early childhood play allows
the individual to gain mastery of essential physical skills which eventually
lead to a well balanced, physically able person.
Sensory feedback is given
when the person engages in physical activities and each child needs this
experience in order to become a more fully integrated person.
For instance, the child
who has never played at rolling/tumbling/jumping, will not have learned
how to save themselves in a fall or how to roll away out of trouble etc..
They will be anxious about physical challenges such as climbing or descending
stairs, using escalators or ladders.
Crossing narrow pathways
or picking their steps across a flooded walkway will be threatening tasks.
Such an individual will often exclude themselves from play or ball games
with their peers for fear of failure or ridicule.
For these reasons special
schools should take physical education very seriously and make every effort
to obtain the resources needed to operate an ongoing programme.
Resources will include most
of the following.
Lesson 1: Floor Activity
Floor mats x 6
Deep cushioned mat x 1
Floor space in gymnasium
Selection of benches, various
Set of steps or platforms
Stairway for practice
Set of ropes to make pathway
Skipping Ropes x 6
Grassed area for outdoor work
Teacher brings group to
gymnasium wearing tracksuit bottom and T shirt tops.
Teacher must demonstrate
the activities and pupils follow.
You are now involving pupils
in disciplined stretching activities and some will find this difficult,
especially the ‘held’ positions.
shoulders, chest and head to gain maximum stance.
Attempt this stance with eyes
Stretch arms straight above
head and point fingers to the sky, reach for maximum height and hold for
5, 10, 15 sec.
Do above and add on a rise
by coming up onto toes. Hold this pose for 5 or 10 sec.
Regularly remind the pupil
of how good they look when they stand and walk straight.
Ask them to grow as large
as they can by stretching
and then to grow as small
as they can, curling up on the floor mat.
Lesson 2: Balance
Pupils will take up best
stance and this time teacher will demonstrate the following;
One legged stance.
Left shoes is tucked in
behind and around the right ankle and pupil tries to maintain balance for
some seconds, gradually holding the position for longer periods. Change
feet and repeat the exercise.
One legged balance with knee
Lift up left knee, both
hands lift under the knee and balance on the right foot.
Try not to fall backwards....’find
your balance’. Pupils will need to hop about for some time before being
able to hold this pose steadily. Change feet and try again.
The three balancing exercises
above should be repeated on a weekly basis so that the skills are well
learned and the pupils gain confidence in balance.
Third balance is with left
leg lifted up and held behind the back.
Here the pupil is expected
to have loosened up and make a considerable stretch in order to reach behind
and down to pick up the leg. Then the leg/shoe is lifted up behind the
back and held in position while balancing on the right foot.
Change legs and go again.
Lesson 3: Stepping Up
Equipment; bench, beam,
Pupils will be required
to step up, step down, walk on a narrow bench or beam, turn on a bench,
walk backwards, hop-in, hop-out, hop-up, hop-down.
Exercise 1 Hoop is laid
on the ground in front of pupils.
Pupils must perform a two legged
hop into the circle. Next they must hop-out.
Teacher might practice this asking the pupil to hop over a chalk line on
When this hop is mastered,
i.e.pupil can hop and land on the toes, not clatter down on the flat of
the feet, teacher will challenge them to;
Teacher will devise a progressive
set of activities at all times reassuring the pupil by supporting them
and making sure of their safety.
Step up, unaided onto a low
bench. Step down, (scary for some).
Walk along the bench. Step
Hop up onto the bench and hop
Pupils should never
be left alone if they find some activities frightening ....and they may
find even the lowest bench intimidating.
Lesson 4: Steps &
Teacher may have the use
of stairs or steps for practice.
The pupil will only build confidence
slowly in this activity.
Can the pupil mount steps confidently
Do they always hang out of
Do they slide down along the
Do they always wait for help?
Do they hold back and wait
‘til the stairway is empty?
These actions will indicate
a lack of confidence on stairways.
A platform, measuring 1
M square and height of approx. 12 CMS will be a secure base for pupils
to practice these steps.
Eventually, teacher will
practice same on a stairway.