Special physics. Ed. course introduces in-line skating to 2nd grade students at Heloise Lorimer

Grade 2 students at Heloise Lorimer Elementary School started the new year rollerblading with a special physical education class offered in January at East Airdrie School.

Grade 2 students at Heloise Lorimer Elementary School have kicked off the new year rollerblading with a special offer of physical education lessons at East Airdrie School this winter.

With the help of Alien In-Line, a Calgary-based in-line skating company, these young students are learning new life skills that will help them grow into active adults.

“I am a great active promoter for life. I think giving kids the skills and competencies they need when they’re young makes a huge difference to being an active adult,” said Adam Pratt, phys. ed. specialist at the Héloïse Lorimer school.

According to Pratt, when kids don’t get a chance to try activities like rollerblading or swimming, their fears about those activities as adults are often too set in stone to overcome. That’s why it’s important to introduce new activities to students every year, he said.

“I think children are so resilient and learn so quickly that it’s [important] to get them to do these scary things in a safe scenario with other kids who are also in a similar boat,” Pratt said. “It’s much easier than learning it on your own, because 30 of your peers have never done it either.”

Pratt’s goal as a phys. ed specialist is about giving kids the tools they need to pursue any activity they want, which means first developing the skills and confidence to do it.

He noted that in-line skating is a great mid-winter activity that gets kids moving in the gym — and that translates well to a few popular winter activities in Canada.

“If you can rollerblade, you’ll probably be a lot more confident in skating,” Pratt said.

Alien In-Line operates the leading school skating program in Canada, offering lessons to more than 100,000 students per year, according to their website. The company provides everything from safety equipment to certified instructors.

Approximately 100 students and five different classes from Heloise Lorimer School are participating in four inline skating sessions this month.

“Slowly we build that confidence in kids where even kids who’ve never put roller skates on their feet, by the end are usually able to do the basics,” Pratt said. “Those who have done it before are pushed to learn new skills like turning or backing up.”

The first day is dedicated to learning about safety equipment, the importance of safety equipment and falling safely.

“Kids fall all the time learning to do things like that. They don’t hurt themselves seriously because they teach them how to do it safely,” Pratt said.

By the end of the lesson, 99% of children can stand and move slowly on their own, while some learn to turn, cross cones, jump or back up.

The course started on January 12 and 13 and will end on January 19 and 20.

“I’ve seen all the kids with gear and working outside. So far so good – no one is sitting down,” Pratt said.

In-line skating is an annual tradition for 2nd graders that is part of a larger learning structure where each level of the school participates in a unique physical activity.

1st and 3rd graders go swimming, 4th graders usually go skiing or snowboarding, and 5th graders go mountain biking on the trails.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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