2 minutes reading time (425 words)

Reinventing Gym Class

Riding bikes is a right of passage that one PE teacher wanted to make sure his students had the opportunity to experience. Dwayne Phillips (in hat above) is a physical education teacher at West Terrace Primary School in Barbados. The students he teaches range in age from 5-9 years old. Because of the pandemic, many of them had a challenging start to their initial school years, missing out on many school activities, including gym class.

Dwayne realized that with all the closures and changes in 2020 and 2021, kids weren't getting the fundamental development they needed at a critical time in their lives. As a PE teacher, Dwayne was used to teaching kids those valuable skills through typical gym class activities and sports. But not all of those had returned to normal.

Around the world during pandemic closures, many people rediscovered their bicycles as a way to exercise, to shake off some stress, or even for safe, reliable transportation. As the world started opening back up, students returned to school, and life trickled back to normal, but we were all still being very cautious about our interactions with others. 

Dwayne was pulled to the same idea many of us had- bikes! Dwayne realized that bikes could not only provide that exercise outlet, but they were also a great way to work on fundamental development and  increase the socialization that kids were lacking because of the pandemic. Many of the kids in Dwayne's school had never had the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike and the economic impact of covid negatively affected so many family budgets that the kids in his school didn't have a bike.

So Dwayne approached our partner Pinelands Creative Workshop with his idea and a request for bikes. Stephen 'Iambo' Grant (also above) is the bike project coordinator at Pinelands and he loved the idea. He tuned up three bikes donated through Bikes for the World last winter and offered them to the school for this pilot program.

Iambo agreed that a bike is a great way to keep fit and he also recognized that many families in Barbados were struggling financially during the pandemic. He hadn't seen as many people coming in the shop to buy that first bike for their kid. He added that a bike allows them an outlet to have fun but also builds confidence and self-esteem at an important time in their lives. Pinelands hopes that other schools will follow West Terrace's lead and introduce more bikes into their curriculum.

Small Business Making Big Waves
Featured Volunteer: Tom Doyle