Field trips raise the bar on adaptive physical education |

Field trips raise the bar on adaptive physical education

by Caryn Haller

From their first visit to their second, Tumbleweeds Gymnastics' front office manager Natalie Pitts noticed a boost in confidence in the students.

Special needs students from five Valley elementary schools took two field trips to the Minden gym as part of an adaptive physical education class.

"Having the kids here and trying their best was a lot of fun. They knew they could do things that they were afraid to do the first time," Pitts said. "So many of them have such a joy inside of them that they are excited to come and jump on the trampoline and play in the castle. Our coaches have had a lot of fun, too."

Douglas County School District Adaptive P.E. Specialist Paulette Irving organized the trips to Tumbleweeds. Her partner, Jeff Hendricks, organizes trips for Zephyr Cove and Scarselli elementary schools as well as for the middle and high school students.

"A lot of my kids wouldn't get the opportunity to go to a facility like this. It's important they get to see different activities they could get involved with outside of school time," Irving said. "The trips to Tumbleweeds are like my adaptive P.E. class on steroids. It's the most fun, and some of my kids would never think they could do it."

The one-hour class includes tumbling, trampoline, climbing in the castle and jumping into the ball pit.

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"They're learning different gross motor skills, working on balance, movement exploration and motor planning," Irving said. "It's been phenomenal. The kids are so happy and so excited. They look forward to it."

The older students take trips to the climbing gym in Incline, go hiking on the Faye-Luther Trail, or go swimming at Carson Valley Swim Center. In September the classes took a group trip to Taylor Creek and walked the trails.

The trips are paid for by the school district. Future trips might be adaptive skiing at Heavenly, bowling or bike riding.

"I would like to make sure that I thank Christi Hines-Coates, director of special services, the principles and vice principals, special education teachers and the educational support staff for all their support, Irving said. "We couldn't pull it off with out their help."

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