The Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program was founded in 1982 by Dr. Jack Scholtz from Acadia University, which offers children and youth with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience to improve their total development. With S.M.I.L.E.’s success at Acadia University, a program was launched at University of Toronto (U of T) commencing September 2016. The U of T S.M.I.L.E. program is offered within the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education in partnership with Surrey Place Centre, Clinton Street Public School, and Acadia University. The focus is on the development of fundamental movement skills and overall physical literacy. The one-to-one nature of this program allows for individual adaptation of the planned activities, where necessary, to meet the needs and interest of each child.
We are proud to share some of the participants experiences:
Over the first few weeks of S.M.I.L.E. I have learned that my S.M.I.L.E. buddy loves animals and is very good at building tall structures. During our sessions we like to build towers with yoga blocks and then I get him to kick them down in different ways challenging his balance and coordination. We also do activities like advanced hopscotch and different kinds of target practice. I’m using these activities to train balance and coordination, leading to a reduced risk of injury in every day life (e.g. from falling down) and enabling him to control his bodily movements with ease. Most importantly, I am training these aspects to increase my buddy’s confidence in these movements. At the first session of S.M.I.L.E. he was a bit disinterested in the activities because he didn’t think he could perform them but after tailoring the activities to his interests his participation has been amazing!
~Erica, Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) student, S.M.I.L.E. program, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto (Post October 2018)
I work with Gibson in the S.M.I.L.E. program. I have learned that Gibson loves science and he teaches me about rocks. He comes into S.M.I.L.E. each week excited to participate. He is very physically literate and able to perform the many challenging tasks that I give him. Gibson is also interested in doing things that older kids are doing, especially around the gym setting. Therefore, my goal for Gibson is to increase his overall strength by adapting “big kid” exercises such as chin ups and push ups to exercises he can perform properly while building his strength. For example, I held a hula hoop off the floor while Gibson laid on the floor holding onto one side — I then instructed him to pull his body up off the floor while holding the hula hoop. He was very excited that he could do this as it mimicked the movement patterns of a pull up (something he may have seen in a gym setting).
~Adriana, Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) student, S.M.I.L.E. program, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto (Post October 2018)
Aleks is a very engaged and outgoing individual who loves participating in S.M.I.L.E.. He enjoys running and dancing as well as building towers of blocks and knocking them down. We are working on his balance, specifically his ability to remain balanced while locomoting sideways. By doing so, Aleks will be better prepared for future activities, and will feel more confident in his movement abilities in group or team settings. As well, by improving his balance, he will be able to work toward smoother transitions between particular movements. Another goal we are working towards is his throwing/aiming at a specific target. Aleks enjoys participating in several sports, and aiming at a target is a necessary and fundamental skill in order to succeed in a sports setting. Aleks is making great progress, and I look forward to his continued improvement.
~Juli, Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) student, S.M.I.L.E. program, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto (Post October 2018)
Arlo loves coming to S.M.I.L.E. and participating in a variety of activities using the balls and bean bags. I am working on improving his 1 leg hops, his throwing and his running in order to improve his overall balance and strength. This will help to increase his confidence and performance in physical activities, games, sports, and other daily activities. The parachute is always a highlight of the day’s programming for Arlo.
~Leah, Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) student, S.M.I.L.E. program, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto (Post October 2018)