One School at a Time: Buchanan Kids Learn to Bike

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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BUCHANAN, Mich. (WNDU) - Several Michigan school districts are ending the school year this week. But before the kids take off on their summer adventures, WNDU is pleased to award the last Martin’s One School at a Time grant for this crazy school year.

The $1,000 grant will help keep kids moving in the right direction at Ottawa Elementary in Buchanan, Michigan. Just in time for summer, the kindergarten class learned how to ride bicycles.

Violet says she likes to go fast. Why?

“Because I never bump into anything and I feel that I’m good at it,” said Violet.

Violet her classmates are getting really good at riding bikes.

“I learned how to ride a bike with Mrs. Leenhouts in gym,” said Violet.

“It’s a lifetime activity,” said Jessica Leenhouts, Ottawa Elementary Physical Education teacher. Leenhouts caught wind of a national bike program called “All Kids Bike.”

“All Kids Bike is a program that is trying to teach kids all around the world how to ride a bike in kindergarten while in P.E. class,” said Leenhouts.

Soon the wheels were turning.

With the help of community funding, Leenhouts was able to start the program this year. The kids started by learning to glide in the gym.

“These are strider bikes,” said Leenhouts. “They don’t have pedals to start with. So the students ride their legs, run their legs and then put them on the foot rests and learn how to balance. And then after that as they establish their balance. After five days of doing that they get the pedals put on and after three days they work on riding a pedal bike. "

The kids caught on quick.

“It feels, like, awesome,” said Brooklyn.

It’s not just about gliding and riding. It’s about learning safety too.

“The first class actually started with me teaching them how to put on a helmet,” said Leenhouts. “Many of them say they don’t wear them at home. And it told them their brain is so important and it’s the first thing we need to protect.”

But wipeouts still happen. Only, the teachers noticed there are hardly any tears.

“It’s amazing. They take the biggest spills and they hop back up. Because it’s fun and they don’t want to sit out,” said Leenhouts. “They don’t want to stop. They bear their falls and injuries and keep on going.”

The program will keep going thanks to Martin’s Super Markets. You see, the school didn’t have enough bikes for the whole class.

“This money is going to bridge the gap and give us a few more bikes, so the kids don’t have to share as often,” said Leenhouts. “Perfect timing for it. We’re so thankful for it.”

The kids appreciate it too.

“I feel better and I keep practicing,” said Brooklyn. “Because I want to be better at it.”

“That’s my goal as a P.E. teacher, is to help these kids to be healthy and active for the rest of their life,” said Leenhouts. “And biking is one huge way to do that and with summer coming up it’s the best way to do it.”

Bike Buchanan and Michigan Gateway are two community organizations that helped with the initial funding for the bike program.

The kids don’t keep the bikes. These special bicycles stay at the school so they can be ready to go for the next round of riders when classes start in the fall.

Martin’s Super Market’s One School at a Time grants will return in August. Click here if you would like to nominate your school for a $1,000 grant: One School at a Time - Nominate Your School (

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