Occupational therapy association launched on Sint Maarten
Philipsburg - Sint Maarten now has its very first occupational therapy association – OTIS – Occupational Therapy In Sint Maarten.
Occupational therapy’s distinct value is to improve quality of life and health for all ages through facilitating participation and engagement in meaningful, necessary, and familiar activities of everyday life.
OTIS’ missions are to ensure that the highest quality occupational therapy services are being received on Sin Maarten, to continue to educate, guide, and provide occupational therapy services to the population of Sint Maarten, and to promote occupational therapy in a more joint approach, in so doing, serving, and supporting occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants in Sint Maarten and abroad.
“Occupational therapy services have steadily been provided on Sint Maarten since 2012. It is a very vast profession that treats across the entire lifespan and covers many sectors, including but not limited to: health, preventative care, education, labor, infrastructure and accessibility. However, the time has come for all occupational therapists to come together and collectively work in raising this very vast and holistic profession to the next level for the population. Look out for us in the future!” says, D’Antoinette Roger-Sorton, OTIS’ founder and president.
In an effort to extend recess times, it was reported and observed that some students on St. Maarten were not even receiving their time outside. So here I was trying to get more, and the little that was initially there, was being reduced. This is an outrage!
Play and recess are not privileges. They are rights! They are required!
They are required for children in order for there to be growth and development.
"Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child." (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1989).
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. (Ginsburg, 2007)
Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development. It has been shown to help children adjust to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills. Social-emotional learning is best integrated with academic learning; it is concerning if some of the forces that enhance children’s ability to learn are elevated at the expense of others. Play and unscheduled time that allow for peer interactions are important components of social-emotional learning. (Ginsburg, 2007)
During recess, learning can be achieved on the playground in a way that is not possible in a structured classroom. A position paper from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education states Recess provides children with discretionary time and opportunities to engage in physical activity that helps to develop healthy bodies and enjoyment of movement. It also allows elementary children to practice life skills such as conflict resolution, cooperation, respect for rules, taking turns, sharing, using language to communicate, and problem solving in situations that are real. Furthermore, it may facilitate improved attention and focus on learning in the academic program. (Council on Physical Education for Children, 2001)
The benefits of recess include: social, physical, cognitive, emotional, and even teacher benefits; yes, teachers!
Although it may take teachers a few minutes to get their class calmed down after recess, many observers believe that students pay better attention to lessons and disruptive behavior decreases after the recess break. Therefore, some teachers consider recess to be an important element of classroom management (Bogden & Vega-Matos, 2000). Recess also often gives teachers a break from the constant supervision of students. (Sindelar, 2002).
There is enough evidence suggesting that play and recess are essential to the growth and development of children. Need anymore truth? Look to yourselves! I grew up playing, you grew up playing. There were a lot less screens in our faces and play was spent outside. Now consider the children today, in front of the screens. This has resulted in poor fine motor skills, poor cognition, poor socio-emotional skills, rise in obesity of children and adolescents, etc.
Therefore, with all of that said, why is there a movement to reduce or eliminate recess? Why are children spending their recesses inside of the classroom?
This movement needs to come to an abrupt stop! It is not beneficial to the teachers and most importantly the children.
If you or your staff would like more information on that subject, feel free to contact the occupational therapist at Enable.
- Bogden, J. F., & Vega-Matos, C. A. (2000). Fit, healthy, and ready to learn: A school health policy guide. Part I: Physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco-use prevention. Alexandria, VA; National Association of State Boards of Education.
- Council on Physical Education for Children. (2001). Recess in elementary schools: A position paper from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education [Online], Available: http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/current_res.pdf.
- Ginsburg, K. R. (2007). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Pediatrics. Volume 119, Issue 1.
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. General Assembly Resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989.)
- Sindelar, R. (2002). Recess: Is It Needed in the 21st Century? Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting.
The occupational therapist at Enable, D'Antoinette Sorton, was recently on Speaking of Everything with host, Oral Gibbes, where she was able to explain OT and its benefits.
Watch the entire episode here.
Contact Enable if you require anymore information regarding topics discussed.
Enable was featured in this week's health section of The Daily Herald!
Find out how Enable can help you with your sleep needs! Get some sleep!
You must come to the fair,
The health and wellness fair,
To get information,
About your health situation.
Come out on Saturday, March 21st from 9am to 4pm to get all of your health and wellness information!
Come out with your children especially to our launch of #LessScreen, More Play! Campaign. There will be lots of games and activities for your children to participate in, while you get information on how occupational therapy can benefit you and your loved ones!
Calling all parents!!!!
Is your child constantly staring at a screen? Watching TV? Playing video games?
Why aren't they outside playing in the sun, like you did when you were young?
There has been a recent influx of articles discouraging the use of tablets, ipods, smartphones, etc. for children under 12, due to lack of development and reaching of milestones.
In an effort to gain a wide-range of activities, Enable is starting a campaign to not only promote awareness, but also to provide alternative activities that children can do, especially on St. Maarten, to keep them moving and shaking!
By encouraging more physical activities and less sedentary screen activities, this will benefit them physically, cognitively and psychosocially.
What can you do to help?
Please post your idea of screen-free fun to any social network by adding #LessScreen, more (your screen-free activity here)!
e.g. #LessScreen, more dance!
That way, when in doubt about what to do with your children, you can easily access the hashtag feed and have a list of activities to choose from!