Mission & Program Overview
The S.M.I.L.E. program provides an environment of play and fun that fosters fundamental motor development for children and youth with varying ability levels and develops leadership skills for Acadia University students that leads to a lifetime of success.
S.M.I.L.E. was founded in 1982 by Jack A. Scholz of Acadia University's School of Recreation and Physical Education.
The program seeks to improve the "total development" of children with special needs by enhancing vital physical skills and motor patterns. To achieve this goal, the experiences included in each child's individual educational plan vary, but may include: water orientation physical fitness activities to improve muscular strength endurance flexibility, and perceptual motor programs to enhance the development of body awareness, spatial awareness, temporal awareness, and sport skills.
In addition, the program stresses the improvement of self-esteem by strengthening the emotional-social aspects of a child's personality through success at play. This goal is achieved through the child participating in group oriented activities. During these activities the child is encouraged to demonstrate cooperative behaviours.
The learning atmosphere is one in which opportunities for success are the rule rather than the exception. The program is approached in the spirit of "fun". Since the learning atmosphere in the program is one in which opportunities for success are frequent, the volunteers adopt the role of friend before teacher.
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