Connecting active living and special needs education

Co-op, Education

- Ryann Anderson

Paige Quinn, Faculty of Education.

When Paige Quinn first moved to Vancouver Island from North Vancouver in 2013 to start her undergraduate degree, she intended on becoming an elementary school teacher. She had always loved working with children and grew up with a mother who taught grade one. But taking one of UVic’s Exercise Science, Physical Health and Education (EPHE) classes hooked her on the program; she graduates this month.

For Quinn, the health and recreation education program offered by EPHE was the perfect way to combine an active lifestyle with her love for all children and turn them into a career.

She especially loved the co-op element of the program. Quinn travelled to Wales to be an activity leader for four months, where she took children and students with special needs on adventures like kayaking, rock-climbing, and even exploring a castle. Quinn also worked at Recreation Integration Victoria for eight months, leading their volunteer program by pairing students with disabilities with volunteers in the community. She was also able to do two directed studies with the same organization. 

Quinn is keeping herself very busy since finishing school. She is currently working as an education assistant for the Victoria School District.

I’ve always loved kids and, over my years at UVic and in high school, I was always working with people with disabilities. It made sense to go in to this job because it’s in a school and it’s with kids with disabilities so it’s kind of ideal for me.
Paige Quinn, education graduate

Right now, Quinn is working at South Park Family School in a kindergarten class. “Kindergarten is where I belong,” she laughs. “I just love it! They’re so innocent and pure. There’s no judgement in kindergarten. They’re just excited to learn.”

She also works with children with special needs on her own, leading them in recreational activities after school, and through Community Living Victoria as a behaviour interventionist. There, Quinn is also part of a committee  for increasing healthy food in their after-school programs.

One of the things she loves most about her work is having the opportunity to connect with students on a one-on-one basis. “It’s a really rewarding job.”

On top of her many roles working with kids in the community, Quinn is training for a half Iron Man triathlon. She credits the EPHE program for teaching her how to balance a busy work schedule with a healthy active lifestyle.

Quinn also hints at potential plans to return to UVic. “I don’t feel done,” she says. She’s considering a master’s degree in educational psychology, to be able to take on more duties than she is currently able to as an education assistant. She is also considering pursuing recreational therapy. Both programs would help her apply her special skill of combining physical activity and educational support.

In her spare time, Quinn tries her best to maintain an active lifestyle, training six days a week.

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In this story

Keywords: education, convocation, student life, alumni, co-op, exercise science, health, international, teaching

People: Paige Quinn

Publication: The Ring


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