General Instructional Guidelines
Recreation and Leisure
The four sub areas covered in this Recreation and Leisure curriculum are:
- Indoor Leisure
- Indoor Recreation
- Outdoor Leisure
- Outdoor Recreation
Leisure is the time used to do what you want to do. It is
personal and usually involves fun activities. Students learn how to
participate in these activities at home, in school, and in the
community. The focus is on developing a repertoire of preferred
activities and participating in a variety of these activities both
individually and in a group. Students can develop and increase their
social skills that are necessary to function appropriately and as
independently as possible.
Leisure is understanding, knowing about and experiencing social and free time activities:
- Outdoor activities
- Spending time with other people.
(Transition Parent & Resource Directory)
During elementary school, children need to have opportunities to play. Play skills enhance the development of cognitive, social, communication, and motor skills. Play development does not always occur spontaneously; consequently intervention strategies must be used to guide the development of cognitive and social play skills. In addition, leisure awareness and recreational skills need to be introduced.
When appropriate, play skills can be expanded and emphasis placed on self-initiation and age appropriate selection of materials to encourage peer interactions. Leisure and recreational skill development becomes a major component of the educational program. The focus on the types of activities being taught shifts gradually from developmental to a skills approach.
At a secondary level, students are taught both individual and group skills. They are exposed to leisure and recreation activities as they learn to select, initiate, participate in and master age-appropriate activities. Regardless of their limitations, students are encouraged and assisted to participate as independently as possible. Development of these skills emphasizes activities that the student can do at home, school and in the community for the rest of their lives.
(GIG Leisure, 1995)
Typically children engage in a variety of activities with a diversity of other individuals at different locations. It is critical that learning to participate in various activities should begin at an early age. This is necessary because there will always be blocks of time during each day when the student will need to occupy their time in activities without direct adult expectations regarding the outcome. Our students need specific training and exposure to develop these skills.
The rationale for training students in leisure activities includes:
- Building a repertoire of preferred leisure time activities
- Increasing the length of time the student engages in the activities
- Exposing the student to a variety of activities which are initially paired with extrinsic reinforcement
- Desensitizing the student to sensory and environmental factors related to the activity
Recreational activities vary depending on their nature, purpose and characteristics. The following questions could be asked when selecting an activity with a student:
- Is it an individual or a group activity?
- Is it structured or unstructured?
- Is it a skilled or an unskilled activity?
- Is it a simple or a complex activity?
- Is it cooperative or competitive?
- Are there space and time considerations?
The activities in this curriculum contain ideas that can assist in the teaching of certain critical skills, which are:
- Using the bathroom
- Dressing / personal appearance
- Mobility in familiar locations
- Responding to greetings
- Occupying self appropriately while waiting
- Responding to yes/no questions
- Requesting needs / more
- Indicating that the task is finished
- Getting attention
Recreational activities are those that people engage in for pleasure,
learning, relaxation, a change of pace, fun, and socialization.
Students who have severe and multiple disabilities that affect both
physical and cognitive functioning need training in activities that are
age appropriate, satisfying and reinforcing. They should be taught
activities that are enjoyable and are easy to perform and are initially
associated with specific extrinsic reinforcement and rewards for them.
The ultimate goal is that sufficient exposure to related activities
would provide students with information to make choices and indicate
preferences. These activities can also provide a means to socialize and
spend time with peers in the community.
This leisure recreation curriculum will include the following indoor and outdoor activities:
Beliefs & Assumptions
- All students have the right to learn and participate in leisure and recreation activities.
- Leisure and recreation activities enhance the development of other skills. These areas are integrated into the leisure / recreation curriculum.
- Leisure and recreation skill development are an essential part of the studentís overall educational program. Other skills are reinforced when they are integrated throughout instructional activities.
- The educational team helps to determine which leisure and recreation activities are most appropriate and will enhance the studentís life skills and adult opportunities.
- Leisure and recreation skill development encompasses individual and group activities, spontaneous and planned activities, passive and active participation.
- Age appropriate leisure and recreation skill development, both in school and in extra curricular activities, should provide for interactions with a variety of people.
- The role of home is recognized as vital to the success of the student. Efforts should be made to coordinate skill development between home, community and school environments.
- When determining what skills will be taught, consideration should include
- Life skill that promotes belonging, connection, and enjoyment
- Student / family preferences
- Home environment /regional area
- Student characteristics
- Cost factors
- Development and instruction of leisure and recreation skills is a lifelong process. Acquisition of these skills will enhance the studentís quality of life, as it gives them greater opportunities to connect and have fun with others - preparing them to be ďengaged in lifeĒ as much as possible as an adult.
- All members of the educational team are observers and facilitators of related skills.