School turns to skates for student exercise

HOSCHTON -- Duncan Creek Elementary School's gym doubled as a skating rink on Thursday.

Third-graders at the Mill Creek cluster school are participating in Skatetime, a nationwide school fitness program that recently began in Georgia.

During their P.E. class, the students donned quad roller skates and protective gear. Some glided through the gym like pros, while others were a little wobbly.

"We feel the students get more benefits on the quad skates," said Adam Lean, a regional manager for Skatetime in Georgia. "It helps them with balance and coordination."

Through the program, skating is taught as a unit, and the students strap on skates for five to 10 classes, Lean said. In the first class, students are taught the basics of skating. By the end of the unit, students learn how to forward skate, backward skate and do crossovers.

Dayna Alkire, a physical education teacher, said she thought teaching skating would be a great idea.

"It makes P.E. fun," she said. "Some of these kids have never been on roller skates. ... We used to skate all the time when we were little."

To cover the cost of the program, students paid $5 to participate.

Third-grader Courtney Burleigh said she has used inline skates before, so wearing quad skates was an adjustment.

"I actually like it," she said. "It's a good way to teach children how to balance."