NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Mondays this fall, the New Brunswick Public Library will be hosting a free “Young Athletes” program for children ages 2-7, sponsored by the Special Olympics of New Jersey.
The weekly program, which starts October 17, helps children improve gross motor skills, improve social and language skills, and develop skills for future participation in sports.
“It is designed to prepare young athletes for future participation in Special Olympics sports,” said Andrea Moore, the Young Athletes Director for the Special Olympics of New Jersey.
Moore noted that the program is for all children, regardless of whether or not they have special needs. The program focuses on different skills including body awareness, strength and balancing. It also aids in social, cognitive growth and emotional well being, Moore said.
The idea to bring the Special Olympics program to New Brunswick was born when librarian Karen Stuppi attended a state Library Association conference and learned how other libraries had adopted the program.
“It’s a good community program,” Stuppi said. “The Special Olympics provides all the equipment.”
Stuppi noted the program is also a useful way to attract parents of children with special needs to the library.
“There’s not always a lot of organized activities [at libraries] for students with special needs,” she said.
All children who attend must participate with a parent or adult guardian and must wear athletic shoes. Siblings and friends are encouraged to participate.
The program will be held on Mondays from October 17 to December 5, from 4:00 – 4:45 pm in the Carl T. Valenti Community Room, downstairs in the New Brunswick Public Library at 60 Livingston Avenue.