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Barnwell School ends year with unique phys ed initiative

Posted on June 27, 2018 by Taber Times
BIKE RIDE: Wheels Week at Barnwell School features students using any instrument to get around that features wheels and must be self-propelled for gym class. PHOTO SUBMITTED

By Greg Price
Taber Times

A tradition continues to get traction at Barnwell School.

The school just recently wrapped up its second annual Wheels Week as a new twist to its physical education program.

During the first week of June, classes from Gr. 1 to Gr. 9, instead of playing in the gym or running around the schoolyard, students are encouraged to bring a set of wheels and ride for the period. For the most part, that means bicycles but can include scooters, skateboards, roller-blades and more. The catch is, these wheels must be propelled by the human body and not a motor or battery.

“The kids have loved exercising in an alternative environment. Each day starts with a briefing on the route around town, as well as safety reminders. Besides a set of wheels, students are also required to wear a helmet. Anyone who does not have ‘wheels’ or a helmet can walk or run the route,” said physical education teacher Aaron Edlund. “The Village of Barnwell provides a unique environment for this event. There is just enough traffic for the students to have to be conscientious riders. They need to be aware of their surroundings and follow the rules of the road. However, traffic is very light in Barnwell and local drivers have also slowed down to accommodate this activity.”

Provided they wear their helmet, recesses during Wheels Week have a unique twist as well. Cones block off the entrances to the school’s bus loop and the students ride around for recess. Focus is again on safety as students are taught to stay in control and to watch out for others.

“I really like that instead of saying ‘No!’ to something, we’ve provided an opportunity for learning, but setting a few guidelines and letting them go.”

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