On November 3, 2016, the M.D. of Greenview Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) hosted a media event to launch the Sparks Fly program at Penson School. The Sparks Fly stationary bikes help students develop and improve self-regulation skills by burning off energy and reducing stress, while remaining in the classroom. The stationary bicycles are being implemented using MindUp curriculum, a six-week program that aims to teach children how their brain works to handle stress, facilitated by the M.D. of Greenview FCSS Youth Coordinator.
The bikes come in two sizes to suit both younger and older students, and cost approximately $700 each. Penson School Principal Jenny McAusland expressed thanks to the M.D. of Greenview, represented at the event by FCSS Manager Lisa Hannaford and Communications Officer Diane Carter, for supporting the placement of a larger bike in the school's combined Grades 7-8 classroom, and a smaller bike in the Grade 1 classroom.
Citing the numerous benefits of incorporating the self-regulating tool in the classroom setting, Ms. McAusland pointed out that teaching a child to discipline themselves from within has a much greater impact than receiving discipline from an outside source.
Grade 7 student Ryder Sveinson-Barker says, "I like using the bike because it gets out the energy and helps me focus on the board. When my legs are moving, I can focus, and when I get home, I am more focused on my homework."
Grade 1 teacher Megan Hutchison says the bike provides a natural movement break that doesn't distract or take away from the classroom lessons, and that having a bike in her classroom has increased the attention span for kinesthetic learners.
"We have a signal where students put their hand up and twirl a finger, and I simply nod permission if the bike is free," says Ms. Hutchison. "It doesn't disrupt teaching, and it is very beneficial in a classroom setting. The size is well-suited to my six-year-old learners, and the bike is very quiet when in use."
To learn more about the Sparks Fly program, visit http://sparks.runforlife.ca.
Pictured above (l-r): Penson School Principal Jenny McAusland introduces M.D. of Greenview FCSS Manager Lisa Hannaford and Communications Officer Diane Carter, and Daily Herald Tribune reporter Svjetlana Mlinarevic to the Grades 7-8 class and their teacher, Ms. Sydney Spencer.
Pictured below: Grade 7 student Ryder Sveinson-Barker says he likes using the bike because it gets out the energy and helps him focus on the board.
For additional photos from the event, visit PWSD's Facebook page.