Learning to ride a bike is a traditional rite of passage for many people, signifying independence and responsibility. While this beloved mode of transportation may be accessible to some, for others it is not a priority.
Megan Williams, a physical education teacher at La Academia/Kinder Academy, is working with nonprofit All Kids Bike on a fundraiser to make sure her kindergarten students have access to learning the skill.
“We have eight classrooms of kindergarten students, three of which are our young kindergarten classes (Kinder Academy) where students have the chance to do kindergarten two years in a row,” Williams said in a press release. “It will impact a large number of students who have amazing bike trails that are all near the school and throughout Chaska. It will help ensure they utilize the gift our community provides (trails), create a healthy habit and an opportunity where all kids can be successful.”
The goal is to earn $6,000 for a fleet of 24 Strider AKB-Specific Bikes, helmets, pedal conversion kits, one Strider 20-inch Bike for teacher instruction and curriculum.
The bikes are assured to last at least five years with maintenance, support and cleanup provided by All Kids Bike. The Strider bikes could last 10 or more years if they are well taken care of.
“This would give kids that experience and it is a life skill,” Williams said. “Someday down the road if they can’t afford a car or live close enough to work, then they already have that ability to transport themselves around and just be active and live a healthy lifestyle.”
Williams said that the bike curriculum would likely span three to four weeks. The target audience for All Kids Bike is kindergarteners, but Williams is hopeful that first graders could also utilize the bikes and perhaps even other schools in the district.
While most schools have PTO funding for rollerblades and other equipment, Williams said that most of La Academia/Kinder Academy’s PTO raised funds go toward the Amity International Teacher Program, which brings in Spanish speaking interns from around the world to teach for a year.
Once all of the funds are obtained, the teachers have to complete a 90 minute online course. When the training is complete, that triggers the shipment of the bikes to the school.
“If we were efficient, we could actually be able to start implementing this for sure in the spring,” Williams said. “Otherwise we will for sure start next school year.”
Donations can be made on the All Kids Bike website.
“One of the best ways to get kids active is to get them excited about bicycles,” said All Kids Bike board member Ryan McFarland in a press release. “It’s a skill that is going to serve them in life.”