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Coach Introduction- Paris

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Hi, my name is Paris!
I live on St. Joseph’s Island with my husband Brandon and our 2 kittens. In my spare time, I love to visit family, play sports, exercise, go for four wheeler rides, be outside, work on organizing my house, and watch Netflix too of course.
I am the oldest of 5 children (I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters). I graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at Sault College in April of 2020. I also work for Childcare Algoma at the daycare in Echo Bay.
If you were to look at my biography compared to Coach Hayley’s, you might notice that they seem quite similar. That’s because Hayley has been one of my biggest influences and role models throughout my life (she is my cousin). Her dedication and positive energy always inspired me to want to be just like her. I have been working at Ignite since 2018 and it has given me the skills and experience to integrate into my everyday work. My favourite part about working for Ignite is to help children set goals and to help them see their strengths and “bright spots” each day. It is so rewarding to be a part of those smiles!

Coach Introduction- Taylor

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My name is Taylor and I am a motivated Coach here at IgniteGym.

I have a B.S. in Kinesiology and a Diploma in Occupational/Physiotherapy Assistant.  I grew up playing hockey and soccer. I started at the young age of 4. It gives me a positive and outgoing leadership aspect when working with children! My goal is it have the most positive impact on people that I work with. I am passionate about helping busy kids focus and break down problems through exercise.

Through my research as a student and my personal development, I have recognized  the benefits of combining school work with exercise. I have 5 years of experience helping people gain strength and mobility through exercise. I love working with all populations to push towards their goal!


Coach Introduction -Hayley

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Hi, I’m Hayley!

I live in a VERY small town of 400 people on a 200 acre farm with my husband Brandon and 3 kids- Laney- 6, Hanson- 3 and Wilder- 6 months. We love the outdoors and staying busy. Our favourite activities include: biking, swimming, snowshoeing, hockey, figure skating, woodworking and Cricut-crafting, but also Netflix 😉

I am the owner of IgniteGym. I have been coaching with Ignite since 2013- right out of University.  I have my Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I have always been passionate about exercise and the education of children.  So why not combine the two! In University, I completed my thesis and conducted research regarding the positive benefits of exercise on the brain and how it impacts the learning process.

(I’ll post some of my favourite research articles for you to enjoy next week 🙂 )

When I was 9, I began helping a young boy who had Autism. Ever since, I have enjoyed researching and working with children with special needs. More importantly, finding ways to help them find their own success!

Nice to meet you all!

Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs

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Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs is a theory proposed by a psychologist named Abraham Maslow to explain human motivation. There is no scientific basis for the theory but…well..it just makes sense…so at Ignite we use it to guide our session planning for each individual.

The theory states that an individual will not be motivated past the level of needs that are currently being met. Which means that if they are struggling with one of the steps in the process, they aren’t going to feel motivated to move forward.

Step 1- Physiological Needs. Air, food, sleep, shelter, etc. We need to make sure the individual is getting the appropriate sleep, food and shelter they need. When children come in after a poor night sleep or right after school with no snack, their performance suffers and we usually need to adjust our plans. Ensuring these needs are met is #1 . Would you feel like working with an empty stomach and no sleep? Me neither.

Step 2- Safety and Security. Health, family, stability, support.  We need to make sure the children feel secure and supported and are feeling safe!

Step 3- Love and Belongingness. This one is all about the repor we build with the individual. We create a mutual understanding of each other. Boundaries are set and a positive safe space is created.

Step 4. Self Esteem. Now we are getting closer to be able to really get down to work!  Confidence and Self Esteem is critical to be successful. We use a variety of techniques and activities to build confidence.  Easy wins, low hanging fruit and achievements encourage the very important growth mindset. Get them “winning” !!

Step 5. The last step before getting into the real work. Self Actualization! Realizing their inner potential and understanding why they are at Ignite.

So, that all being said, its a process! Kids need to be set up for success. You need to set the intention and work up to the main goal.

If a child comes in and doesn’t know anything about you or your program, they aren’t going to want to get into working on the problematic areas with you. Take the time to build them up. It may take 1 session to get through the steps. It may take 1 month. Its an investment of your time. The rewards will outweigh the time spent preparing them!

The Ignite 101 course will teach you exactly how to do this !





The Brain on Exercise. What exactly happens!?

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Exercise has a VERY wide range of benefits for overall health. Weight control, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, improves mood and focus, helps keep you regular, improve your sleep quality, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, provides social benefits, etc. etc. Less talked about is the benefit on your brain and the learning process. In very brief terms, this is how it works:

Q & A- #3

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Happy Wednesday!

Another common question:

Q- My son/daughter has limited mobility, will there be enough for them to do with in the gym?

A-Yes, of course! All physical and cognitive activities are scaled to the participant’s level. We have children attending who are working on a very wide range of skills.

As for physical activity for an individual with limited mobility, whether they are in a wheel chair, rely on a walker or supportive assistance, or a close contact to hold onto when needed, we plan activities based on their capabilities. Here is our planning procedure for ANYONE coming into the gym.

1)Free Initial Consultation. Parent/Caregiver and child come into the gym. We discuss strengths, weaknesses and goals. We observe physical and cognitive abilities.

2) Match the individual to a coach. Ignite coaches have a broad range of skills and strengths. We match the child with the coach who will be the best match.

3)Discuss strengths, weaknesses and goals observed through the Initial Consultation and brainstorm activities.

4) Research. Learn more about client’s possible difficulties and what research says has been successful in helping them thus far.

5) Start with what research has said to be successful while coach and client get comfortable with physical limits and abilities.

6) Build their repertoire of movements through progressions.

7)Watch them hit new goals and succeed!

Special Note: Parent’s are always welcome to stay and observe sessions. They can provide feedback or discuss concerns at any time. They can even participate if they wish!  However, some kids are negatively impacted by parents watching. If this is the case, we can record any sessions with your permission and provide you with the recording. 

Q & A -#2

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Another common question!

Q- Do you offer semi-private sessions?

A- Yes! We love Semi-Private sessions. Semi-private sessions include a sibling or friend. We have also had parents request a semi-private session and we have matched them with other clients who are working on similar goals.

Semi-Private sessions have so many benefits. To name a few:

-Opportunity to work on social skills
-Practice collaborative problem solving
-Team work
-Play together
-Practice sharing and turn-taking
-Create friendships
-Some activities are just more fun with more people!
-Cost effective

Q & A #1

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Q- My son has limited verbal communication and doesn’t use many words. Would he see a benefit?

A- Of course! Absolutely!

We plan sessions based on the needs of each individual in the program. It is not a “one size fits all” program. Through physical activity and play we would work towards improving communication skills, whether it be body language, facial expressions, voice, written or from a tech device.

Engaging in exercise and games with their coach provides a natural setting to practice communication through play. Sessions would be planned based on their preferred type of communication. Physical activity creates an optimal environment in the brain for learning.  It increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain which in turn releases hormones and creates a surge of brain cell growth and stimulates the creation of new connections.

So, our goal would be to provide exercise to prime the brain for learning all while practicing communication skills and creating a fun environment to work on specific goals.

Here is an example of a potential session for a child who has limited verbal communication.

  1. Arrive, play a game with coach.
  2. Go over the session plan at the white board with coach. Plan is set up using visual pictures.
  3. Warm up/Game
  4. Activity- Mirror Me -Coach, moves through different actions while saying the action, child follows the actions. If the child practices saying the words that is great, if not, listening and following is a great skill on its own!)
  5. Free time to play. Coach plays along, and enforces back and forth exchanges of communication.
  6. Obstacle Course + See and Say. Child runs through obstacle course while saying the name of the obstacle/movement or pointing to the visual image of what they are about to do before moving on.
  7. Free play/game before leaving.

Throughout the session, eye contact and appropriate body language is encouraged and coach models appropriate skills.

Getting active provides a great opportunity for learning for ALL abilities!