Thursday, September 24, 2015

DC second grade students receive bike safety education

All second graders in DC public schools now have the opportunity to learn to ride a bike. Starting this year physical education teachers will hold four 50-minute lessons on bike safely. District DOT and private donors purchased 1,000 bikes to be used in the classes.

From the Washington Post article All D.C. public school students will learn to ride a bike in second grade:
The bike-riding unit is one of the District’s new “cornerstone” lessons, which aim to bring more uniform and rigorous instruction to students in every part of the city. They are designed to be memorable and relevant learning experiences, said Brian Pick, chief of teaching and learning for D.C. Public Schools.

The unit also reflects efforts across the country to make physical education classes more accessible and useful, with less focus on competitive sports and more attention to healthy lifestyles and fitness habits.

“This a lifelong skill,” said Miriam Kenyon, director of health and physical education for D.C. Public Schools. “It’s a way students can get to school and it’s also a way they can exercise with their family. It promotes independence, and it’s a good way to get around.”
Fairfax County students are not so lucky. In 2012 FABB worked with the Fairfax County School Board to encourage them to adopt a new policy to provide bike safety education to elementary students. According to the policy,
The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools. Such programs shall be conducted in accordance with Virginia Department of Education curriculums and guidelines. Staff members will provide general safety information to school communities and respond to requests for specific information and advice when practicable.
These programs have not been established and almost no elementary kids receive bicycle safety education. According to the Post article referenced above, "Fairfax County offers optional lessons for older elementary students." There may be one or two schools that offer some bike safety instructions. The lessons should not be optional according to FCPS policy. All elementary students should have the opportunity to learn about safe bicycling skills. Why not ask your School Board member why FCPS does not follow their own policy on bike education.

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