Orchard Park (N.Y.) Recreation pilots new Start Smart program

Orchard Park (N.Y.) Recreation pilots new Start Smart program


Recreation agencies nationwide are on the lookout for innovative programming to meet the growing demand for activities for 2- and 3-year-olds.

Orchard Park Recreation in New York, one of those agencies that has seen parental interest for activities for this younger set skyrocket, has been piloting a new Start Smart program.

The program, unveiled by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) to complement its widely used array of Start Smart Sports Development programs, targets the development of fine and gross motor skills for children ages 2-3.

“I really like the overall idea of the program,” says Kristin Santillo, assistant recreation director at Orchard Park Recreation. “There is not a lot for this younger age group and parents are looking for things to do with their kids. The lesson plans make it easy for an instructor to implement.”

Parents participate along with their child in the sessions, which run about 45 minutes and feature a variety of fun-filled activities.

Catching balloons and balls and performing different types of runs and jumps are some of the activities used to develop gross motor skills; while stacking blocks, lacing beads and painting, among many other activities, are used to target the kids’ fine motor skills.

“I like the variety of different activities,” Santillo says. “They encourage movement during each activity and all can be done on the floor.”

Santillo has enjoyed seeing the reaction of the children as they go through the various activities each week.

“The smiles of the kids as they explored everything makes it worthwhile,” she says.

For more information on running this new program in your community contact Andy Parker, director of Youth Development for the National Alliance for Youth Sports, at aparker@nays.org or 800-729-2057.

Start Smart Motor Skills

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