June 9, 2023

Developing Young Athletes in Montenegro: Zana and Biljana’s Story

If you ran into Zana and Biljana at a local café in Golubovci, Montenegro, you might believe that they are near friends catching up about coffee. And you wouldn’t be wrong—Zana and Biljana are certainly very good friends that routinely share laughs, are snug with just one an additional, and know just about every other’s tales. But their bond goes past just becoming buddies. Zana and Biljana are co-lecturers at the Star Yard kindergarten in Golubovci, and for the previous two several years, they have been the driving force behind the Exclusive Olympics Youthful Athletes system in their local community.

Young Athletes at Star Garden go through a station.

The Younger Athletes software delivers alongside one another small children with and with out mental disabilities, aged 2 to 7 several years old, to master standard sports skills and staff-making functions. When Zana and Biljana very first discovered about the Youthful Athletes plan at a Exclusive Olympics Montenegro workshop in 2021, they realized they experienced an prospect to make a immediate affect in their group. Star Yard has a longstanding collaboration with a close by day-to-day middle that supplies services for folks with mental and developmental disabilities. The center’s staff assists learners from Star Back garden who involve such solutions. Zana and Biljana hoped the Youthful Athletes plan would lead to the effectively-becoming of their college students and advertise inclusion in between the two educational institutions.

The Young Athletes plan has an action tutorial for educators and suggests keeping sessions up to a few times a week for around 45 minutes. Each individual training consists of a warm-up, talent development stations, a team activity, and singing songs. Zana and Biljana started off the system with their possess class and have been initially achieved with some hesitancy from dad and mom and colleagues. “We organized a assembly with the dad and mom to tell them about the Younger Athletes software,” claimed Biljana. “Some of them were being not sure on what the added benefits [of the program] would be, and we had colleagues that ended up skeptical about it for the reason that it normally takes up so significantly time,” she stated.

Youthful Athletes Action Star Back garden SO Montenegro

The Young Athletes method brings together small children with and with no intellectual disabilities, aged 2 to 7 several years previous, to understand standard athletics competencies and crew-developing things to do.

Inspite of the first skepticism, Zana and Biljana’s learners cherished the coaching, and it grew to consist of a lot more sessions and involve learners and lecturers from Star Yard and the day-to-day heart. The program has turn out to be a great good results. “We do classes now almost just about every working day due to the fact the students are begging to have a education or the dad and mom inquire for us to maintain a session mainly because their young children are always asking about it at household,” mentioned Zana.

Zana and Biljana say the Youthful Athletes software has manufactured apparent advancements in the habits and teamwork between the students of all abilities in Golubovci.

“[The students] participate in with each other and assistance each other if they are getting a hard time with an exercise,” claimed Zana. “We had a scholar that was nonverbal say his 1st phrases in the course of a instruction session, ‘yellow tape’, due to the fact we have yellow tape to show the get started details for our distinct Youthful Athletes pursuits and usually say to start out at the yellow tape. The teachers and mothers and fathers were being shocked and delighted,” she stated.

The Young Athletes system has also supplied Zana and Biljana additional awareness about helping college students with differing capabilities thrive. “After our operate with Unique Olympics, we see the wants of our pupils so evidently,” mentioned Zana. “Young Athletes has assisted us figure out various behaviors of pupils with mental and developmental disabilities and explain the relevance of motor competencies and socialization to dad and mom,” she said.

Zana and Biljana advise for all kindergartens in Montenegro to have a Younger Athletes plan they believe that it assists students of all abilities understand how to cooperate with one a different and develop their bodily and communication competencies.

“Young Athletes can guide to the advancement of so quite a few abilities in your pupils that you simply cannot picture when you to start with start off. It leads to more self-self confidence, focus, and comprehension.”


When requested to give tips to a trainer striving the Younger Athletes software for the 1st time, Zana and Biljana advocate arriving at every session with a high degree of electrical power, holding training consistently, and to be affected individual.

“Consistent conversation in the course of the instruction is incredibly essential,” exclaimed Zana. “ Don’t skip classes and inspire your pupils with applause and favourable words. Positive results will come…Young Athletes can direct to so quite a few possibilities for your college!” she mentioned.