The bikes will be assembled at Goose Bay Elementary in a collaborative effort by various Goose Bay staff members and several physical education teachers from schools across the Mat-Su Borough School District, who are volunteering their time to do so. Wasilla High School students in Brian Cook’s Construction Trades class are building the storage units to house this new equipment with lumber and hardware donated by three local businesses.
This generous grant will help more than 500 kindergarten students learn to ride over the next five years. The Mat-Su Valley is the fastest growing area in Alaska, and as new roads are built, so are adjacent bicycle pathways. The Strider Bikes will be used for before and after school programs, to help ensure that Alaskan children learn to ride early, for many years of safe exercise, recreation, and transportation.
Nancy Blake, physical education specialist at Goose Bay Elementary School, is coordinating the program and will receive everything needed to get students pedaling. The program includes a proven, integrative curriculum, staff training and certification, the revolutionary, child-friendly Strider Learn-To-Ride Bikes, and helmets. The fleet of dual-propulsion 14x Strider Bikes start as balance bikes and convert to pedal bikes. This conversion makes learning to ride easier than ever before and makes training wheels obsolete. The Strider Education Foundation, the program provider, also offers continued support to ensure everyone involved is successful for five years.
Blake will bring this program to kindergartners throughout the Mat-Su Valley via a partnership with the local, non-profit “Kids Kupboard,” which provides free lunches to children throughout the summer at various locations throughout the Valley. Blake and her fellow PE teachers will coordinate Strider lessons with the free lunch program so that kids across the Mat-Su will learn to ride.
“Our community is excited to implement the Learn-To-Ride Program. We constantly seek opportunities to enrich the lives of children throughout the Valley. This program will provide students across our district a rich and meaningful experience – learning a skill to last a lifetime,” said Goose Bay Elementary Principal, Ayla Brown.
Executive Director Lynette Ortolano of Kids Kupboard is excited for this program partnership. “This partnership pairs a perfect recreational component and we couldn’t be more thrilled. When children are fit, their body works well, feels good, and can do all the things you they want to do, like learn and grow!”
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