GRANGER TWP. — “Snow” blanketed the gym floor and kids skated on carpet squares.
They threw bean bags at targets to replicate curling, and rode small carts to simulate sledding.
The Winter Olympics were in full swing Thursday at Windfall School.
The Olympics kicked off with a parade of nations in which students marched around the Medina County Achievement Center gym, followed by sporting activities.
About 80 special-needs students ages 2 to 18 participated in Thursday’s games, which were geared toward helping them enhance their gross-motor skills.
The event was not a competition among students.
“The idea is to incorporate fitness into different Olympic events and allow the kids to have some fun,” said Amy Belles, a first-year adapted physical education teacher.
Although there are no Winter Olympic Games this year, Belles said February is typically when the games take place.
“Students are even learning about the Olympics and the national flags of other countries in the classroom as part of the exercise,” she said.
Winter Olympics is part of the school’s wellness program, Belles said, and it aims to encourage students to be active, make healthy choices and learn the importance of lifelong healthy habits.
Staff members at Windfall also created the illusion of winter in the gym with shredded paper for snow.
“A lot of these kids and their families don’t have the opportunity to go out into the community for exercise or to a fitness center like most do,” Belles said. “It’s nice to be able to have this sort of activity for them.”
The Wellness Program helps Windfall students live, learn and succeed in the community, said Jan Manes, education director at the school.
“We are very proud to be a ‘Wellness School,’ ” Manes said in a statement. “We have made a commitment to our students to provide them with the tools and information they need to make (good) choices.”
Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.