Informed and inspiring teachers are among the most important school-related factors for influencing student achievement, well-being and success. Thus, it is critical that both new and experienced educators receive ongoing training and support. To help address this need, Play Unified: Learn Unified contributes up-to-date skills and understandings to the training of coaches and teachers and has been instrumental in weaving inclusion into the social fabric of schools around the world.
When Special Olympics Mexico launched Play Unified: Learn Unified in 2019, its leaders recognized the need to address a gap in pedagogy that had been observed across the country: many teachers lacked the knowledge or training to accommodate students with intellectual disabilities. With this obstacle to equity identified, Special Olympics Mexico formed a strong alliance with AMEXCO, a national academic organization focused on teacher training and development related to physical education and the body.
“The alliance will change many lives, including the lives of children and young people in their schools, by making everyone more aware. We like the idea of growing alongside an inclusive movement and demonstrating these values to our affiliated teachers."
Every year, AMEXCO connects teachers and university professors across Mexico for workshops, trainings, panels, and physical fitness events. By joining hands with Special Olympics, AMEXCO is now able to offer professional development that ensures teachers can provide sport opportunities for students of all ability levels. AMEXCO President Dr. Horacio García Mata understands the importance of updating teaching methods and awareness about students with disabilities, noting that “The alliance will change many lives, including the lives of children and young people in their schools, by making everyone more aware. We like the idea of growing alongside an inclusive movement and demonstrating these values to our affiliated teachers.”
Using the expertise and resources of Play Unified: Learn Unified, AMEXCO has prepared teachers to better serve students with disabilities, implement Unified Sports, and cultivate inclusive Youth Leaders in their classrooms. Through this alliance, Special Olympics Mexico has trained nearly 3,000 teachers and coaches to be champions of inclusion, helping shift the landscape of education in the country to one of awareness, caring and engagement.