Erin Salazar recognized an opportunity when she learned about a program implemented in Red Bluff—the first of its kind in California—designed to teach kindergartners how to ride a bike.
Salazar teaches transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten (K) at Turtle Bay School in Redding. Her passion is early education, and so it is no surprise that when she heard about the Kindergarten PE Program that equips schools with curriculum to teach bike-riding, as well as balance bikes, pedal-kits and helmets, she jumped on it.
More than 135 schools in 26 states have the program, with 68,000 students impacted and nearly 1,500 bikes sent to the schools, according to allkidsbike.org.
“Jackson Heights School in Red Bluff recently became the first school in California to become an All Kids Bike school,” Salazar said. “Teaching is all about collaborating with your colleagues, and when I saw what they were doing, I knew it would be a perfect fit for our community in Redding at Turtle Bay School.”
Salazar and Turtle Bay School have launched a fundraising site to collect donations for the program, which would cost $4,350. They were recently awarded a grant that will match up to $1,000 in donations through Dec. 31.
The Kindergarten PE Program would provide the school with 24 bikes that could be used on the nearby Sacramento River Trail and children’s bike park. “Turtle Bay sits at the epicenter of bike culture in Redding,” Salazar said. “We are also a large school and have the ability to reach a large number of TK/K students every year.”
Helping young children learn how to ride a bike gives them a skill they will have their whole lives, she said.
“Not all children get that experience,” she said. “Learning at a young age will help them build confidence. They will always be able to say, ‘Hey, I learned how to do that in kindergarten.’”
Redding’s experience with the Carr Fire, which burned many of the trails and outdoor recreation areas the city is known for, also ties into Salazar’s desire for the program. Several teachers and about 40 students at Turtle Bay were impacted by the blaze, and being able to get children out on bikes on restored trails is a way to offer hope to the community, she said.
“Redding is a wonderful place to ride a bike, and we would love to help our students become stewards of our community now and in the future,” she said.
If interested in donating online to the All Kids Bike fundraiser project, which would serve an estimated 144 students next year, visit https://allkidsbike.rallybound.org/turtle-bay-school.