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Thanks to donors, they’ve got a free ticket to ride

Northview — As evidenced by the delighted squeals from a gymnasium full of first-graders, the new kick-scooter unit at West Oakview Elementary is a hit.

Students rounded a makeshift rink recently and showed off their skills as ‘90s music blasted from a speaker. Some wobbly starts became smoother as sneakered feet pushed off and practiced balancing on one at a time. A gentle collision or three brought zero tears or even pouts — only more determination. Most came to pro-level stops when the music halted. 

Alivia Hedges explained what happens when she falls: “I get right back up again.”

Kyle Trumpie thinks other kids should give scootering a try. “There’s nothing hard about it,” he said.

Making The World Their Playground

First-year physical education teacher Melissa Sweers got a kick scooter for Christmas when she was 12, and she “grew up rollerblading everywhere I went.”

Ameilia Moore gives scootering a thumbs up

To make a scooter unit possible, Sweers used her own personal connections and asked people who had scooters and helmets for sale online to make a gift of them to her classroom instead. She managed to get all 30 scooters and helmets donated in time for the second semester of school. 

All West Oakview’s 300-plus DK-4 students took part in the two-week scooter unit. In addition to physical fitness, the unit also honed students’ balance, coordination and their ability to follow directions and operate scooters safely.

Sweers said that for younger students especially, scooters serve as a good precursor to bicycles and rollerskates.

“From day one to day six (of the unit) it’s a night and day difference … being more comfortable and confident while on the scooter. I have kids (who) have told me how much they love this unit who don’t play sports, which is exactly what this is intended for: learning to make the world their playground.”

Explore more unique video stories of students learning, interesting school programs and educators working to help all children succeed.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio


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