November 18, 2022

School Readiness Like Riding a Bike

Danielle Peterson

Students gather behind a motorcycle during a lesson about school readiness.


Preparation is an integral part of school readiness and one key to success. Deborah Wooleyhand, Lower School second-grade teacher whose husband, Chris, is an avid motorcyclist, compares preparing to ride a motorcycle to preparing for school for her students. Wooleyhand explains to her students that her husband ensures he has the right mindset before hitting the road. He is focused on the road and is not distracted. She shares that he checks to make sure the equipment is working and that the motorcycle has properly inflated tires and working lights. Finally, Wooleyhand reminds students that her husband dresses for the ride: boots, gloves, long pants, goggles, and a helmet.


Wooleyhand explains to her class how this preparation is similar to school readiness. For students, getting into the right mindset means being ready to learn and recognizing mistakes as opportunities. And that having the necessary equipment is being prepared. As such, a backpack, a homework folder, a water bottle, lunch, and a device are examples of a student’s equipment. And dressing for the ride means wearing the correct uniform. Accordingly, to remind her class of this process, Wooleyhand often asks students, “Are you ready to ride?”


Visually reinforcing the importance of preparation was a visit to campus by Chris Wooleyhand. A school principal for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, he earned his Ph.D. from Notre Dame of Maryland University in educational leadership. He showed off his motorcycle, and students tried on his helmet. After the motorcycle tour, Chris read “Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude” by Kevin O’Malley. The book tells the story of a boy and a girl who have different ideas of how their fairy tale should evolve.


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