Brownstown Elementary School celebrates 10th year of Skatetime



As Florida Georgia Line’s “This is How We Roll” blared from a stereo, Brownstown Elementary School fourth-graders roller skated their way around the gymnasium.

By the fifth and final week of Skatetime, most of the students were able to maintain their balance. There were a few falls, but they got right back up and kept rolling.

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That went along with physical education teacher Jennifer Schneider’s motto for the 10th year of the program: “I can skate with confidence.”

“If they have the confidence to do it, they can do it,” she said. “There are some that start out that have no confidence, lack that confidence. Even ones that play team sports might still lack confidence because they’ve never skated, but I try to build their confidence and self-esteem when it comes to skating. The more we talk about that, the more I see improvement over the weeks in the course of our unit.”

Skatetime is a comprehensive curriculum-based skating unit designed to engage students of all ages. Students have fun getting fit while learning a lifetime activity.

Brownstown third-, fourth- and fifth-graders spent time in PE class once a week learning how to roller skate and practicing their skills, including starting, stopping or T-stance, forward skating, crossover turning and backward skating. They also learned safety tips for being a smart skater.

The program started at the school 10 years ago with just one grade but later expanded to two and then to three in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Schneider said it all started when Skatetime reached out to her through a PE conference.

“It’s something new, something I enjoyed doing when I was growing up,” she said. “It has kind of fizzled out as just a social activity, but it’s gaining popularity again, I think, because it has been in the schools, so I think that’s great to see. I see a lot of kids going on the weekends for birthday parties again like it used to be back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Why keep doing it all these years? Schneider said because the kids have fun with it.

“They ask every year, ‘Are we going to skate?’ especially the younger ones who know when third grade comes, they are going to skate,” she said. “To see that excitement and hear about that excitement building up toward it is great.”

From a PE teacher’s perspective, Schneider said skating is a great cardiovascular workout. This year, she had a device that allowed students to take a break from skating to check their heart rate.

“Running is great, jumping rope is great, all of the sports that we do are great, but this really keeps your heart rate up for the 30 minutes that we are in here for PE once a week,” she said.

Plus, Schneider likes seeing the students improve their skills. She said falling is part of skating, and the students have to learn it’s OK and they can still get better if they keep practicing.

“I like to see their progression over the years,” she said. “Not all kids have that privilege to get out there and go to a skating rink on the weekends, and this is their only chance to put on roller skates, so to see that improvement because we do it more than one year is really nice to see.”

Fourth-graders Bode Mull, Brinley Peak and Meredith Lewis all said they had roller skated before starting Skatetime in third grade.

“I had my own skates,” Mull said, noting he knew how to brake and push off.

Peak said her older brother went to BES and they had practiced together.

Classmate Xavier Sanders, however, was new to skating last school year. He said learning how to maintain his balance was the most challenging part, but he has improved.

“I fall less often, and I actually get more laps by the end of the days that we’ve skated,” he said.

The experienced skaters have gotten better, too.

“I am better at not falling as much. I just like skating. It’s fun for kids,” Mull said.

“I knew how it was kind of hard to balance at first. Then once you keep going, it’s easier,” Lewis said. “My friend has skates, and I’m pretty much always at her house on skates.”

Peak said she is not falling as often, either, and she likes the health benefits of skating.

“It’s really fun because we play games,” she said. “It helps me exercise more and get my heart rate up a little more. It helps you be healthy.”

The fourth-graders are happy they have another year of Skatetime.

So does Schneider want to do it another 10 years?

“We’ll see,” she said, smiling. “I’d like to keep it going. We do so many things, and the years go by so fast, but I know they enjoy it. They are sad to see it go when it’s the end.”

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Skatetime School Programs provides schools with the equipment and tools they need to get students up and rolling.

Schools schedule a five- or 10-day block of time and provide shoe sizes for students. Parents sign a permission slip and pay a rental fee.

Skatetime sends a step-by-step how-to guide, including lesson plans, an instruction manual and a free video.

If a school is offering Skatetime for the first time, a skate instructor helps with setup and organization of the equipment and will stay the entire day and give basic instruction to each class.

For information, visit


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