While the future of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain, there is no doubt that the desire to return to in-person learning remains high. With this energy to reopen schools, it is important to also appropriately adapt to the isolation students with and without disabilities have been experiencing all year. Indeed, this isolation has been felt by many students with intellectual disabilities for much longer than the pandemic. Finishing off this school year with an inclusive mindset is essential to the social and academic development of all students, regardless of the learning setting.
Over the last year, Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® has pioneered various distance-learning tools and resources to support students, teachers, and families—and these resources will remain timely even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. With content themes of belonging, teamwork, leadership, and more, the below resources can be invaluable to teachers to “build back inclusive.”
Bring Special Olympics to your classroom! These adaptable and engaging activities highlight inclusion and are made for all grade levels. Comprised of monthly “packages” that keep the educator and student top of mind. Implementing the resources can be a seamless way to ensure the core themes of Special Olympics are embedded into your current classroom setting. Each package is comprised of standards-based lessons for all grade levels, “Unified Talks” videos hosted by youth leaders, “Inside Inclusion” videos with accompanying discussion guides, and social media activities. COMING SOON: Unified PE and Unified Fitness Lesson Plans for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12
Lessons in Social Inclusion: A Collection of 5 Mini-Lesson Units
For a unit-based curriculum, check out the “Lessons in Social Inclusion.” This collection of 5 mini-lesson units are suitable for grades 8-12 and follow similar themes of belonging, acceptance, and advocacy that work to promote the inclusive mindset in schools. Teachers can use these units individually or together in sequence. Students can work through the whole curriculum with the culmination of a final project for social inclusion.
These resources can help educators and leaders take the first steps towards instilling an inclusive mindset in their schools. Students may feel some discomfort when returning to typical schooling, so it is more important than ever to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive.
Hear from Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Education Advisor Kaleigh Vogan, Special Olympics Chief Inspiration Officer Loretta Claiborne, and U.S. Youth Ambassadors Tajha Ilerant and Jackson Escamilla in the video below to learn about the concept of an inclusive mindset, and how explicitly teaching and modeling this mindset in the classroom can positively impact the lives of students.