Britton-Hecla kindergarteners were excited to try out new bicycles received through a grant from “All Kids Bike,” a movement of the Rapid City-based Strider Education Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to teach every child in America how to ride a bike in kindergarten PE class.
Bikes Add To B-H Curriculum
As Britton-Hecla kindergarteners walked into Amacher Auditorium on Friday they could hardly contain their excitement.
Lined up on the gym floor were 32 bicycles, the result of a grant awarded the school from “All Kids Bike,” a movement of the Rapid City-based Strider Education Foundation.
“We’re on a mission to teach every child in America how to ride a bike in kindergarten PE class,” said a representative of the non-profit corporation. “We value riding as a life skill that provides numerous benefits such as exercise, adventure, transportation, exploration, mobility, competition, independence, socialization, and fun.”
Strider CEO and founder Ryan McFarland said the foundation wants to encourage kids to be active. His passion is teaching children to bike, getting them off the couch away from their digital screens, and engaged in active, outdoor life.
“The Kindergarten PE Program is designed for children of all abilities and hopes to instill healthy habits at a young age,” said McFarland. “One of the best ways to get kids active is to get them excited about bicycles. It’s a skill that’s going to serve them in life.”
Britton-Hecla PE teacher Jacob Skogstad has had previous experience with the program.
“The bikes will be a fun new addition to our physical education curriculum. I student taught in a school with the bikes and it was fun to watch the students progress in the skill. I think the biggest benefit to the bikes is providing a chance for every student that comes through our school to have the opportunity to learn the bike riding skills.”
Strider Sports designs efficient, nopedal balance bikes for children ages 18 months to five years, and for older riders with balance and coordination challenges. Strider’s mission is to simplify a bike so proper size and weight combine to eliminate fear of riding and instill confidence. The bikes allow riders to learn balance, leaning, and steering, thus eliminating the need for tricycles or training wheels.
Founded in 2007 in Rapid City, Strider has sold over 1.6 million bikes which are distributed in over 75 countries. It has donated over $850,000 through its Rider Fund to organizations and schools.
The foundation also provides curriculum to help PE instructors teach bicycling skills. It is designed to focus on the entire class learning to ride and progress through their skills together. Online training includes an overview, videos, and quizzes about the LearnTo-Ride curriculum so educators are well-prepared and fully-equipped to teach the program successfully.
The curriculum is taught in eight lessons. Initially students are taught how to move, balance, and stop while on a two-wheeled bike. Midway through the curriculum the bikes are converted form balance-mode to pedal-mode with the goal of each student pedaling a bike independently.
Adjustable helmets are also included in the program, and the curriculum instructs children on the importance of wearing a helmet whenever they ride a bike.
“At Strider we love riding bikes, and we love inspiring kids to ride,” concluded McFarland.