Students Brooklyn Buckingham and Gunnar Barlee use the bike trainer in their Strawberry Vale elementary classroom. The school will have one in each class for the new year. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Students Brooklyn Buckingham and Gunnar Barlee use the bike trainer in their Strawberry Vale elementary classroom. The school will have one in each class for the new year. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Bikes keep kids focused in Strawberry Vale classrooms

Saanich middle school to put a bike in every class

TRAVIS PATERSON

Sannich News

They call it the wiggles.

In teacher Emma Marley’s Grade 5 class at Victoria’s Strawberry Vale elementary, the wiggles includes pent-up energy, anxiety, giggles, or anything, really, that leads to a lack of focus.

Recognizing the wiggles is part of the self-regulation movement, which itself recognizes that traditional classrooms aren’t designed to meet the needs of all children.

The idea is the exercise stimulates the children to get their minds back on track for learning, and it works, Marley added.

Strawberry Vale started the school year with the purchase of four silent bike trainers. It’s been such a success its Parent Advisory Council has purchased 10 more for $7,000, to have one in every classroom.

They’ll be delivered and assembled soon.

While Marley’s class was part of the school’s bike trainer pilot to start this year, Marley has also employed a variety of options that turn distraction into focus in the classroom. Other strategies include standing, lying on the floor, or walking around. Sometimes students step outside and jog their memory with a quick out-and-back run to what’s known as the special tree (visible from the glass door), Marley said.

But for now, it’s all about the bike.

“The bike is quite popular, as you can see by all the names posted on the waitlist,” said Grade 5 student Dylan Hudder.

“I like to ride my bike outside, it makes me relaxed, so does this,” said Grade 5 student Gunnar Barlee.

reporter@saanichnews.com