Thursday, June 19, 2008

Skateboarding Launches Into Educational Curriculum

Skateboarding's becoming a regular part of grade-school curriculum, as this USA Today story indicates:

Skateboarders aren't frowned on at Oak Elementary School in Albany, Ore. In fact, students there get credit for performing grabs, kickturns and ollies in class.
Oak is among hundreds of schools across the country that have adopted a skateboarding curriculum in their physical education classes.

Skate Pass, the Boulder, Colo., company that created the curriculum in 2006, says skateboarding is now being taught in schools in more than a dozen U.S. states, plus Germany and Canada.

Educators say it's part of a "new PE" movement that recognizes that some kids aren't natural athletes.

"When people first hear 'elementary PE,' the first thing that comes to mind is dodgeball. Then all the other stuff they didn't like," says Jake Gerig, Oak Elementary's PE teacher.

"We're trying to focus on lifetime activities that are non-competitive and individualized so students can learn at their own pace," Gerig says.

Elementary schools are moving toward non-traditional activities, he says, such as rock climbing, unicycle riding, yoga and even Dance Dance Revolution, a music video game played on a dance pad.

"Only 10% of kids go on and play team sports," Gerig says. "What about the other 90% who are sitting at home playing video games because they're not star basketball material?"

Former professional snowboarder Eric Klassen developed the Skate Pass program with Denver PE teacher and fitness expert Richard Cendali.

"I've been skateboarding all my life and had been in the industry of skateboarding," Klassen says. "Richard is the one who thought it would make a good curriculum."
Skateboarding was my curriculum when I was in high school, LOL!

I'm stoked to see schools opening up the sport as an elective activity. Those years - my young skateboarding days - are some of the most memorable of my life.