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Explore Elementary inducted into Special Olympics Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Explore Elementary for being honored with an induction into the Colorado Special Olympics Hall of Fame as the 2018 Young Athlete Program of the Year!

Explore was just one of eight organizations in the state to receive this honor, solidifying the school’s status as a leader in inclusive education.

For the past eight years, Explore’s participation in the Young Athletes Program, a program that introduces basic sport skills like running, kicking and throwing to students with and without disabilities, has had a lasting impact on all participants and their families.

“The program gives students rich opportunities with high-quality equipment to not only build their strength, agility and movement, but also their understanding of working on a team and supporting their friends while trying new skills together,” said Mapleton’s Director of Early Childhood Education Kristen Morel about the Young Athletes Program.

Explore was inducted as the 2018 Young Athlete Program of the Year for their successful participation in the Special Olympics Healthy LEAP program, an eight-week, in-school health and wellness education program that provides weekly lessons in health, nutrition, fitness, safety and injury to both students with and without disabilities.

When describing the Healthy LEAP programs uniqueness, Kendra Gilmour, a teacher at Explore, said, “it is unique in the way that it really is a program designed and geared toward young kids and various areas of health, like brushing your teeth, wearing sunscreen, being safe outside. It was more than just teaching kids about healthy food.”

Not only was the program essential to building the foundation of a healthy lifestyle at a young age, but each lesson was exciting, with hands-on components such as games, songs and short videos, about healthy food.

Members of Explore’s team were recognized at a luncheon for all 2018 Colorado Special Olympics Hall of Fame inductees in October.

“Listening to the stories of the inductees was emotional and made me proud that Mapleton has such a wonderful partnership with an organization like the Special Olympics of Colorado,” said Explore teacher Michelle Olivas.

Michelle said one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is the lasting impact the lessons have had on students and families. “Kids began bringing in healthier food for snack time and increased their water intake. That was exciting to see!”

A big congratulations to Explore Elementary, and all staff who played a role in making the program a success!