First year Charlotte Central School Physical Education teacher Matt Kent introduced a new unit of study this spring that dates back to the early 19th century: biking!
“I’m an avid mountain biker,” Matt explained recently, “so it was something I planned to integrate into our curriculum.
Local Motion, a bike advocacy organization in Burlington, provided the bikes for the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to ride. “They have a great program around connecting kids with biking,” Matt said. “They have four trailers and each trailer has 40 bikes and helmets. You simply sign up in the fall and they drop the bikes off when you need them.”
Most of Matt’s students had experience riding a bike, but he was pleased to say that two of his students learned how to ride during their week-long bicycling unit.
Matt taught the kids basic skills before the bikes arrived: trail and road safety and etiquette and how to fit a helmet and how to fit a bike. Their actual riding took place on the grassy fields behind the school. “It was so great because I had teachers tell me how fun it was to look out the windows and see so many kids outside riding bikes,” he said.
Matt set up cones and obstacles and even a small jump for the kids to navigate.
“Riding a bike is a lifetime activity, and that’s really the goal of our program here,” he said. “Some people don’t think of themselves as an athlete, but everyone is an athlete; you just have to find what they’re athletic at,” he added. “Next year we’ll do this again, for two weeks!”