Dude, for some grade-school kids in Minnesota, gym class is about to get a lot more, uh, gnarly (is that a word the kids still use?). That’s because Hayes Elementary School in the town of Fridley has added skateboarding to its P.E. curriculum. Yet another reason that I was born 20 years too soon.
(”But mom, this IS my homework!”)
When I was in grade school, we had an entire unit on square dancing in P.E. class. Which was not only completely outdated then (and this was like 1985), but also was an emotional nightmare because the teacher let the boys pick which girl we wanted to dance with — meaning that the cute girls were immediately surrounded by all the guys (there was lots of shoving and yelling) while the rest of the girls had their self-esteem shattered in ways from which they probably still haven’t fully recovered.
Skateboarding is a much better idea (although, unfortunately I was better at square dancing than I’ve ever been at skateboarding). And it’s sort of an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality that prompted the idea.
Battling a national childhood obesity crisis, educators and curriculum creators alike saw a need to structure physical education around activities kids can take home with them and do after school in lieu of spending hours texting and surfing Web sites like Facebook.
Kids are more likely to stay active if they’re introduced to a sport or activity they like, said Eric Klassen, who co-founded Skate Pass, the Colorado-based firm that helped start the skating curriculum program.
But lest you think that the school is going to turn into that old Unsane video, don’t worry. Safety is the most important thing taught in the class, and all the kids are required to wear a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads during class.
One teacher is amazed at how well the program works:
The students in Craig Coleman’s gym classes at Hayes are taking to it with glee. Even those who used to beg off the tougher exercises are getting excited, he said.
“There’s no, ‘I can’t,’ anymore,” he said. “They just want to do it.”
A company called Skate Pass in Colorado came up with the idea and helps to provide equipment and the curriculum itself to schools that want to take part. According to the AP, multiple schools across the country are using the program.
It’s all a pretty brilliant idea. I mean, this is something that the kids are going to do anyway so you might as well teach them how to be safe about it and not get hurt.
Wait, I think I’ve heard that concept somewhere else. And I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with skateboarding.