ECC at Perkins: Recreation and leisure keeps kids active and healthy

Recreation and leisure classes introduce students to healthy habits and hobbies they can enjoy for a lifetime.

Jake, 17, uses a weight machine in the Perkins gym during Physical Education class. Photo Credit: Anna Miller.

Recreation and leisure is one of nine life skills kids with visual impairments and multiple disabilities learn through the Expanded Core Curriculum at Perkins. While the terms recreation and leisure may call to mind a lazy afternoon, as a skill it’s all about ensuring students know how to keep themselves fit and make choices about how to spend their leisure time.

Here’s what it means to learn recreation and leisure as a skill, and why it’s a core component of our Expanded Core Curriculum.

Why is recreation and leisure so important?

For kids who are visually impaired or have other disabilities, sports can be intimidating. Unlike their sighted peers, they can’t just walk onto a field and play football, baseball or lacrosse. Even casual athletic activities, like biking or running, often requires adaptations or sighted guides. But physical fitness is as important for them as it is for everyone else. Learning how to be physically active also helps kids develop hobbies and activities he can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

“If you’re healthy, you’re more confident and you have more options,” says Megan, an adapted physical education teacher. “You have the tools you need to be independent and happy.”

How is recreation and leisure taught?

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What is the Expanded Core Curriculum?

The Expanded Core Curriculum is built of of nine life skills Perkins students with visual impairments, deafblindness and additional disabilities learn on top of their core academics. It covers everything from using technology to independent living to socializing with peers — knowledge most sighted children acquire by observing everyday life. The Expanded Core Curriculum gives students who are blind, deafblind and have additional disabilities a toolbox of crucial skills they need to succeed at school, in social situations, at home, on the job and everywhere else.

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