Students Benefit from Physical Education and Activity

January 20, 2023

Crossroads Center for Children provides a rich and fun learning environment full of appropriate, active and meaningful experiences for our students. Children come from all over the Capital Region and classes start at age 2 years and go to age 12. Preschool aged children with developmental special needs such as Autism learn alongside their general education peers, and both groups benefit from this educational model. Additionally, four school aged classrooms assist this age group of children, preparing them for successful lives.

This blog spot is where we share our stories about how our kids are making gains from physical activity! If you enjoy these posts, make sure to also visit our OT & PT blogspot!

Wiggles Out Breaks | 1.19.23

Kids getting antsy? They’ve been sitting and attending and now are starting to squirm?  Why not try letting them get their wiggles out with a little bit of movement?

Room 3 teacher Melissa puts on some music and provides some enthusiastic instructions, like, “find a spot and freeze,” alternated with “skip,” “stomp,” and all sorts of ways of getting the wiggles out. If you happen to be in the classroom as a bystander, you can’t help but to join in.

All Kinds of Movement | 1.12.23

When Rooms 1 and 7 hit the gym, all of the equipment gets used! Some are using their legs to drive cars, others are climbing, rolling, even shooting hoops.

January’s Crossroads Challenge is Daily Exercise. | 1.1.2023

Have you joined our Facebook Challenge Group yet? This year we will be doing monthly challenges that lead us to be healthier and happier. And January’s challenge is DAILY EXERCISE. Join us, to connect to others in this wonderful community, to give yourself, and others, a boost!

Join the Group

Rainy Days Don’t Mean No-One Plays | 9.23.22

It may have been dreary and drippy outside, but the other day when classes couldn’t go out to the playground, they could still enjoy motor activity in the gym. This year, we’ve been able to set the gym up in several different stations, such as a bikes and cars area, a tumbling and climbing area, a ball area, and so on. We have moved our storage of Special Olympics materials for better access, and the whole space is working out well.

Room 6 showed off some amazing skills the other day, and gave teachers a chance to assess interests and goals to work on through the year.

Classrooms are using the Special Olympics curriculum again this year for structured Physical Education groups. More about the partnership between Special Olympics and Crossroads can be found here!

Having a Ball with the Therapy Ball


It rolls. It bounces. You can kick it, push or throw it. It is a therapy ball and we have an assortment of them in our gym, and classrooms.

Today we catch up with Rooms 14 and 13 in the gym. There’s some fancy rolling on the ball by “O”, while Ms. Melissa bounces with “L” on another, and “G” bounces and poses with another.

According to this article on, these are both excellent exercises to build core strength and balance.

Additionally, we think everyone looks to be having a ball!

Wheels on the Ground


Our students love to drive. Even on the coldest days of winter, when classes can’t get outside, students here have the opportunity to get their energy out in many ways, and one favorite type of active play is with wheeled things.

Here we have students from Rooms 13 and 14 during their time in the gym recently. Moving on scooters and cars gives exercise to the legs and core, and even more so when extra riders decide to hitch a ride on your car, as shown in the bottom right picture.

The Next Tony Hawk?


If you think that only kids in California can learn to skateboard, think again. We have several who have been giving it a try during their “gym” times and gaining some confidence.

Like “B” who is pictured here. When his class, Room 5, hits the gym, there are many options for what to do, but his favorite – at least on this day – was the skateboard.

Even though our students are young, the benefits that skateboarding offers are many. Sports To breaks down 16 of them in the following article:

We’re always overjoyed when students try new activities and develop new interests. You never know what those first attempts will lead to!

Jump Like a Frog


Incorporating movement into a session, here we find Ms. Morgan, one of our Speech and Language Pathologists, engaged in a game of movement, outside on the front lawn with L and A. What are they doing outdoors, jumping around during speech you might ask? Having lots of fun. But that’s not all; they are also practicing several skills while they’re hopping like a kangaroo, jumping like a frog, and so on. Here’s some examples:

Morgan: Oh! Can you jump like a frog? (Models jumping).

Boys: (Immediately start jumping). Like this!!

Morgan: Do you know what sound a frog makes?
Boys: (Jumping and ribbeting). Ribbet. Ribbet.

Morgan: What about a kangaroo? How does a kangaroo move?
Boys: (Hands up in front of themselves, hopping changes form). Like this. Kangaroo!!

Observer passes.

Morgan: Oh look, there’s Ms.___. What can we say?
Boys: (Calling). Hi Ms. ___!!! Look, we’re kangaroos!! What are you doing? Where are you going?

And so on. You see, she got the kids outside where the environmental stimuli are plentiful, had them moving around and conversing, making sounds that are targets for speech, laughing and chatting, happily addressing goals in a natural environment.

When movement is tied into instruction, students benefit physically, mentally and social-emotionally. It’s just great practice!

Here’s an article we found and thought was informative around this topic:

Back on the bikes.


Bikes, scooters and Little Tyke cars have begun to be back on classroom schedules with the warmer weather and loss of snow and ice. The shed has been cleaned out and broken bikes removed, making room for all of the bikes that are still in good shape. The cars are parked along the fence and tied to it by bungee chords and covered by a tarp-tent to protect them from rain. We have put a new bike shed on our Wish List, in hopes to create more protected space for our vehicles. If you’d like to help with this, please let us know!

Here are just a few pictures of the kids from Room 5 having some fun on wheels just last week. Children of this age are mostly using training wheels, but some have learned to balance without them. We also have used “balance bikes” here, to help children gain strength before learning to pedal.  “A balance bicycle or run bike or no pedal bike or dandy horse is a training bicycle that helps children learn balance and steering.” Wikipedia. However, our students, whether preschool or school age, tend to prefer using regular bikes with or without the training wheels.

3.23.21 What to do when the weather’s not good.

Physical exercise is important and getting outside is what we all love most, but there are days when we’re stuck inside, unfortunately. On those days, classrooms are usually able to carry out their Physical Education plans, using the Special Olympics curriculum and equipment we have for the second school year in a row. But sometimes, extra activity is needed to work off excess energy and get some practice with important social and physical skills. In this case, we get to walk with Room 7 as they take a lap of the building, going upstairs and then downstairs. Let’s join them!

10.2.20 Fall Session is well underway and our students are learning and growing in leaps and bounds. What’s happening with P.E. (Physical Education) and fitness activities? Lots!

First of all, the playground has been a hive of activity and is newly spruced up. Students love their turns on the playground for the running, sliding, climbing, and swinging available out there.

Playground Cleanup & Mulching Party

Another arm or our PE program is our use of Special Olympics Young Athletes program. We use the curriculum throughout the school, which means that there is a well-planned series of physical education activities that teachers can choose to include in their class lesson plans. The curriculum to benefit the children in their room. The activities are in a progressive order of skill development and each classroom has an easy-to-use deck of cards, each card like a recipe card for a particular activity. The materials that we’ve received from this grant/partnership with Special Olympics are absolutely terrific. The program is created especially for kids such as ours, and intended to be used in integrated settings such as ours.

Special Olympics Young Athletes Program at Crossroads!

Finally, our kiddos get out and about. When the weather allows, in addition to the playground, you’ll find our classes out on bikes, walking laps, playing basketball and more. This week we got to catch up with Room 14 as they enjoyed scooters, bikes, cars and a walk around the parking lot.


We are so sad to be missing students right now during this time when we are closed due to precautions around COVID-19. To help, each day we’re updating blog spots and our PARENT RESOURCES page with resources for our families to use at home to help keep skills and routines in practice.

Today, Mrs. Rebecca, Room 5’s Early Childhood Teacher has shared this resource that her students enjoy for inside recess activities.

She writes, “My kids like for “indoor recess” and there is also an app available for tablets and phones.

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this with us!

6.24.2020 If you’ve ever been around the school here, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that our students have many opportunities for physical activity throughout their day.

The half hour Physical Education (P.E. aka “gym”) slot that each class has every day is truly critical for health and wellness.

Leading experts in health sciences such as the Mayo Clinic tell us that regular exercise is necessary for healthy living. Some of the benefits of keeping active include controlling weight, improving mood and energy, sleeping better and fighting many illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, anxiety and depression. Here’s an article about the topic from their website :

Here at Crossroads Center for Children we are firm believers in the benefits and importance of exercise. Physical activity is woven into each and every day for our students. We know that children need time and space to play and move their bodies. They use “gym” time to express energy, something kids tend to have in abundance. They also use this time to interact with other kids in physical ways, in a safe and structured setting.

P.E. class is a time for children to learn new motor skills. As they participate in games and fitness activities, their abilities improve as does their confidence and also the likelihood of sustaining an active lifestyle lifelong. Children learn by watching and modeling their teachers and peers – by actively doing the tasks. Students work on many motor skills in their P.E. classes, for example bouncing, scooting, climbing, racing, skipping, jumping and hula-hooping are physical tasks that kids are practicing here, many for the first time, and many more for the first time with others. Games of soccer and basketball, obstacle courses, duck-duck-goose, and biking are some of the favorites for our students.


For students who qualify for Physical Therapy (P.T.), our Physical Therapist, Mr. Joe, helps them work on work on important and challenging motor skills. Throwing, catching, jumping, stairs, walking…. really whatever the child needs to access the school environment are targeted in PT sessions for the children who have that service in their Individualized Education Plan.


In addition to P.E. class and free play times every day, and in addition to P.T. for those who have it, students have additional active movement built into their daily routines. For example, teachers and therapists use strategies during their sessions, lessons and reinforcements to give their students chances to move. Moving through centers, jumping to count numbers, going on a bear hunt, and scavenger hunting through the hallway for letters are some of the creative ways teaching happens at Crossroads. Since the risks to overall health and wellness are great when kids are sedentary, these kinds of movement-motivated activities can only serve to help our kids be happy and healthy.

These are some of the ways Crossroads Center for Children is helping to build health and wellness into our students’ lives, which is a big part of helping them prepare for success in their lives.

Jobs at School Teach Life-long SkillsIntegrating art projects into classroom themes.