Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike Day

"Bikes today teacher?" The first words out of Mr. K's mouth as he exits the bus. "No not today, today is Tuesday, we play on the playground." "Oh," he says in a disappointed tone. Bike day is every Thursday, it's when we take out the tricycles and helmets and let them ride around outside on the basketball court. They love it, we have bikes of all kinds. There's big bikes, small bikes, yellow bikes and red bikes, a bike with two seats, a chariot and carriage bike and even a little red wagon. Although it's hectic trying to put helmets on everyone and getting them settled in to riding and taking turns, there's a method behind our madness. To the children it's a fun time of riding bikes and pulling the wagon, to us it's an evaluation of their gross motor skills. As for Mr. K, it's all about riding his favorite yellow bike with two seats. So every day it's the same question, "Bikes today teacher?" "No, today is Wednesday, we play in the gym," "Oh." But when Thursday rolls around he jumps for joy after asking, "Bikes today teacher?" and we reply, "Yes Mr. K, today is Thursday, we ride bikes." "Yea! My favorite."

We recently moved Mr. K into our afternoon class, it's a better fit for him as he out grew the morning kids. One of the advantages of coming every Tuesday and Thursday is, we have bike day every day. With a longer class time the children get two recesses, one of which is riding bikes. The disadvantage is he has more competition, the yellow two seat er tricycle is a favorite among other fellow bikers. The chaos around the shed where we keep the outdoor equipment is like a swarm of bees buzzing around the hive. The children gather around the door and start requesting what bikes they want, all at the same time. It's way too much mayhem, so we devised a plan to have the buzzing swarm of preschoolers run across the field to a chain link fence, which boarders the playground, while one of us stays behind and pulls out the bikes. It's a brilliant plan that works like a charm, it only took us half a year to figure it out, but hey, better late than never. What we have noticed, besides releasing a lot of their energy and giving us time to get the bikes ready, is how their strength and endurance has grown stronger each week. They also have figured out that what bike they get depends on how fast they run, since choosing a bike is on a first come first serve basis. Mr. K has learned to run really fast, as for the others, by the time they finish running they don't really care what bike they have. It's a win, win all around for everyone.

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