Kindergarteners to get special instruction in Santa Barbara
The All Kids Bike program has come to Santa Barbara.
Harding University Partnership School is the first elementary school in the Santa Barbara Unified School District to receive this program, which teaches kindergarten children to ride bikes in their P.E. classes.
The program begins this week after more than a month of anticipation.
On Oct. 23, Yamaha sponsored Ride Santa Barbara 100, and at the end of the event, Yamaha announced that it would be funding the $5,000 All Kids Bike Program for Harding.
The school serves 376 students annually, and it is predicted that 175 students per year will receive the All Kids Bike training. The program will last for at least five years, impacting approximately 875 students at a minimum.
Harding was selected to receive this fund out of several other schools who submitted applications.
The effort for Harding was started by physical education teacher Kyle Marme. He
had already started an after-school biking program during COVID due to a strong interest in cycling, All Kids Bike spokesperson Julie Kelly told the News-Press.
“I know that my physical education program will be significantly enhanced. All of my kindergarten-second grade students will be well prepared for the bicycle education program that they will be exposed to in the following years,” Mr. Marme said.
“Additionally, this would strengthen the sense of community at my school, as I am confident that several parents would act as volunteers to assist with the program,” Mr. Marme told the News-Press.
Today, Harding’s STEAM students, including fourth, fifth and sixth graders, are scheduled to gather to help assemble the new bikes for the kindergarten classes.
On Tuesday, the new bikes will be unveiled to the kindergarteners. This will take place as part of a program called the Friendship Club.
All Kids Bike is a national movement, which seeks to implement free kindergarten programs that teach kids how to ride into public schools.
This movement is founded by the Strider Education Foundation and is funded by donations from individuals, businesses and organizations.
There are staggering statistics about kids riding bikes.
In a pre-COVID world, there was a 35% decline in kids riding bikes for fun and a 50% decrease in kids riding bikes for transportation.
Seventy-five percent do not even ride bikes once per year, according to the current numbers. Many have never even learned to ride a bike.
Experts stress bicycling is an important life skill. They note it builds confidence, improves concentration, fights ADD and obesity, and is better for the environment than cars.
These staggering statistics combined with all the benefits of riding a bike is why the Strider Education Foundation considers this such an important program, Ms. Kelly told the News-Press.
The $5,000 fund for the program covers 24 bikes for the students, one bicycle for the teacher and the curriculum. These are low maintenance bikes and are expected to last five to 10 years.
This eight-lesson program is a hands-on P.E. curriculum that teaches the actual act of riding a bike including balance, navigating obstacle courses and traffic cones and how to be a safe cyclist, Ms. Kelly said.
Instructors for the program must be a certified teacher in their district. They tend to be physical education teachers.
Additionally the program includes training for the teachers, which must be completed in order to be an instructor for the program at the school, according to Ms. Kelly.
“Our hope for Harding University Partnership School is that it will serve as the pilot school to other schools in the district, demonstrating that programs like this are possible and that they actually exist.”
This program has funded bicycling instruction at 400 schools across the nation.