BONANZA – Jason Hardrath is always looking for a chance to teach new skills to his Bonanza Elementary School P.E. students.
His classroom features a 12-foot high, 40-foot wide rock climbing wall. In addition to the traditional P.E. activities, his students learn climbing techniques and how to ride skateboards. There is a mountain bike fleet for older students, and even unicycles for those looking for a challenge.
His newest venture: A learn-to-ride bicycling program for kindergarteners.
“Each year when we begin our bike unit for the older students, there are several students who have never learned to ride,” Hardrath said. “As they get older, this is a more difficult thing to overcome emotionally and physically.”
Bonanza’s P.E. program is raising money to buy a fleet of bicycles for its youngest students – specifically strider bikes that teach riders balance before pedaling. So far, the All Kids Bike fund-raising campaign has raised about $1,200 of the needed $6,050 to purchase 30 striders, helmets, pedal conversion kits, and curriculum. All Kids Bike is a national movement to set up kindergarten P.E. learn-to-ride programs in public schools using donations from businesses, community members, and organizations.
Hardrath said the learn-to-ride program for kindergarteners will ready students for more skilled riding as they get older. It also teaches a skill that is not taught at home as often as it was in the past.
“You can only teach what you’ve learned. If you’ve never learned to ride a bike yourself, you can’t pass that on to your child,” Hardrath added. “That’s why I feel driven to bring this into the school environment.”
Thanks to community fund-raising efforts, Shasta and Henley elementary schools earlier this year purchased their own fleet of strider bikes with pedal kits for their kindergarteners. Kick-off events are scheduled for later this spring.
To donate to Bonanza’s All Kids Bike program: https://support.allkidsbike.org/bonanza-elementary-school.