RB Gym and Sport offer an AFPE approved programme ‘Balance-ability’ for schools to promote the physical benefits of cycling for young children as well as providing a fun and engaging activity.
For children, schools provide the most accessible, and sometimes only opportunity for regular, structured play, physical education, physical activity, and sports.
Not only does Balance-ability teach children how to ride without stabilisers, but also teaches balance, gross motor skills, core stability and of course, having fun through physical activity.
Schools have a range of objectives in promoting cycling, such as:
Improving children's health, fitness, and safety knowledge
Reducing the number of cars on the school run
Increasing active travel
Enabling younger pupils to make progress on their physical literacy journey.
How is it Delivered in a School Setting?
The Balance-Ability programme is specifically designed for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 pupils.
The course is made up of 12 weekly sessions, 6 sessions for level 1 and 6 sessions for level 2.
You can also have the programme for a whole year using it as an intervention to support least active children.
When delivering in school, the maximum group size for each session is 10 pupils. Each session is advised to last between 35-45 minutes.
If opting for a 1/2 day of Balance-Ability (morning or afternoon) then this would allow you to do 3 sessions and complete the programme with one whole class of 30. If opting for a whole day, then this would allow for a total of 6 sessions to be completed - 2 whole classes of 30.
The course is usually delivered within the school hall, however during the summer months, can be delivered outside on the playground.
Learning and Develpoment
Within Level 1, fundamental movement patterns, gross motor skills and dynamic balance are incorporated along with an introduction to the balance bike. Children learn how to pick up, manoeuvre, mount and dismount their bikes and how to ride a balance bike safely. Level 1 aims to build confidence in the ability to glide on a balance bike and how to stop in a controlled manner.
Level 2 continues the development of gross motor skills, dynamic balance and co-ordination and progresses to advanced balance-ability. The main goal is to improve the child's gliding, stopping, braking, and turning skills, enabling them to ride solo on a pedal bike safely and with confidence by the end of the program.
Funding for Balance-Ability
Schools can utilize their Sport Premium Funding with Balance-Ability meeting the following targets:
✅ Embedding physical activity into the school day through active travel to and from school, active break times and active lessons and teaching.
✅ Develop or add to the PE, Physical Activity and Sport that your school provides.
✅ Providing targeted activities or support to involve and encourage the least active children.
Hassle Free Evidence and Impact for Teachers
RB Gym and Sport Educators ensure that Balance-ability is a progressive 'outcome based' learning programme where children are assessed at regular points throughout the course in order to monitor and measure progress. Schools will receive assessment data to help them account for physical literacy within children and a short impact report to help evidence the programme to Ofsted and use in your Sport Premium Evidence and Impact report.
All resources Included!
All Balance-ability sessions come with:
An accredited RB Gym and Sport Balance-ability Instructor
Balance-ability bikes and pedal bikes
Balance and co-ordination training aids
Road awareness signs and course cones
Visual activity cards
"Balance-ability is the fundamental starting point for children's cycling and an excellent opportunity to promote active lifestyles at the earliest possible age. I can see it also provides a natural lead into Bike-ability for Schools and I would encourage all schools to give children the opportunity to use balance bikes."
Chris Boardman MBE – Gold Medal Winning Cyclist
Glynne Primary School, Kingswinford.
12 weeks of a Full Day Balance-Ability Programme
What were your Requirements/Needs?
Physical development is a huge part of our curriculum and vital to children’s health and wellbeing. With more children overweight nationally, it was important for us as a school to offer opportunities such as this to ensure children are staying as active and healthy as possible.
Why did you choose to use RB Gym & Sports Balance-Ability Programme?
Previous experience with them was very positive. Friendly, professional staff with lots of knowledge, very kind and patient with the children. The children like them, respect them and listen to them.
Balance-Ability addressed many statements from the Development Matters and Early Learning Goals. Their programme fit in perfectly with our physical development curriculum.
RB Gym and Sport provide data and assessment to staff which is extremely useful.
In what ways has Balance-Ability helped your setting/ children/ staff?
As Balance-Ability focuses on gross motor skills, this helped many of our children with low PD development as well as children who needed to be challenged. Good gross motor skills also trickle down into fine motor, we saw a correlation that children who could ride a pedal bike also had neater, more legible handwriting.mproved most children’s Physical Development skillsChildren are visibly happier after doing Balance Ability – improved wellbeingThey are proud of their achievementsHelped some children build resilienceThey have been taught how to persevere and that hard work pays offThey have had an opportunity to learn a life skill that may have taken months/years longer, or in a worst-case scenario, never happened at all.Fine motor/handwriting has improved amongst some childrenAlso teaches children safety (helmets), respect (for the equipment) and patience (waiting to have a turn.)Provided staff with assessment data which helps inform our own. Sometimes sees things we may miss e.g. a child you did not expect would be able to ride a bike who can!
“The children are always so enthusiastic when it is time for their balance ability session. They are so proud when the coaches tell us what they have achieved.”
Mrs Hawkswood, Reception Class Teacher.