Grey Lynn School, AK - Skateboard Programme

Grey Lynn Primary School in Auckland has introduced skateboarding lessons in an attempt to encourage more kids to walk/ride/skate to school in the mornings.

 Suwat Piper skates to school every day. "My uncle is the best skateboarder, he taught me to skate about three years ago," the 9-year-old says.

"I live just down the road so it's not too far away, but I always wear my helmet and walk my skateboard across roads to be safe."

In the push to get more kids footing it to and from school, schools are getting on board with skateboarding. Over the past four years OnBoard Skate school, the largest provider of in-school skateboard and scooter lessons in Auckland, has taught tens of thousands of Kiwi kids skating fundamentals, by taking over their traditional physical education classes. 

Suwat Piper, 9, skateboards to school every day, and can skate circles around his Grey Lynn School classmates who are just learning now.
LAWRENCE SMITH / FAIRFAX NZ

Suwat Piper, 9, skateboards to school every day, and can skate circles around his Grey Lynn School classmates who are just learning now.

Suwat's classmates at Grey Lynn School were treated to their first skateboarding lessons this week.

 Steve Hodges, OnBoard Skate's chief executive, says the training sessions provide an introduction, "so those who want to pursue it have got the basics down".
Suwat Piper, 9, says: "My uncle is the best skateboarder, he taught me to skate about three years ago, now I stake to school every day."
LAWRENCE SMITH / FAIRFAX NZ
 
Suwat Piper, 9, says: "My uncle is the best skateboarder, he taught me to skate about three years ago, now I skate to school every day."

After a safety briefing, kids were wrapped up in helmets and elbow, knee, and wrist protectors, before being taught how to how to push and ride, turn and finally, stop. 

"Because this is an independent, non-judgmental activity, it's something that kids can learn at their own pace. It provides greater opportunity to develop greater resilience and self-esteem than traditional organised sports," Hodges says.

"Our main goal is to give kids the confidence to become independently active."

Suwat Piper says: "I live just down the road so it's not too far away, but I always wear my helmet and walk my skateboard across roads to be safe."
LAWRENCE SMITH / FAIRFAX NZ
 
Suwat Piper says: "I live just down the road so it's not too far away, but I always wear my helmet and walk my skateboard across roads to be safe."

That is an outcome that Courtney Yukich, a Grey Lynn School team leader, couldn't endorse more.

She said as a Travelwise​ school, they are always looking for new ways to encourage families out of the car and onto the footpath for school pick-ups and drop-offs. "Most of our kids live locally so if we can get more people out of cars, that's a big plus for us."

"Sometimes the kids will do little skits in assemblies promoting ways to actively get to school, and other times we'll have spot prizes awarded out by the front gate for kids who haven't come in their car."

This article was first published in the Western Leader Newspaper On Nov 27th, 2016