On Saturday, approximately 30 Simsbury students will participate in the Special Olympics Connecticut Elementary Unified Sports Day at Conard High School in West Hartford.
The Simsbury Superstars, coached by Tariffville Elementary School Physical Education teacher Brandon Carpe, will join teams from other area schools to take part in non-competitive games and activities including basketball, softball, volleyball, bowling, track and field and soccer skills.
Unified Sports is a registered program of Special Olympics Connecticut that pairs athletes with developmental disabilities with typically developing peers as partners on sports teams, according to a release.
This will be the sixth year that elementary students will participate in Unified Sports Day. Secondary students have participated in the event for 15 years, Simsbury Schools Director of Special Services Helen Donaher said.
"By starting at a young age, it makes it very normal and natural and promotes social skills for our students," Donaher said.
Donaher said the program is important not only for students with developmental disabilities but also for their typically developing peers who volunteer to participate.
"We actually have more students without disabilities participating in this program than students with disabilities," Donaher said. "Our kids really want to be involved."
Carpe has been practicing with his team once each week since February, Donaher said.
Elementary Unified Sports Day will be held on Saturday, April 28, at Conard High School from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.