This summer we decided to have our three year old attend bike camp. We decided on a bike camp because there was a Pedalheads camp called Trikes and Trainers that was described as being for 3 year olds. It was meant to teach them how to steer, safety, what stop signs mean, what red, yellow and green lights mean, and what the parts of their bikes are called, amongst other things.
I had heard about Pedalheads before from parents in the neighborhood. A couple of boys we knew had to do the camp twice in order to learn how to ride their bike. Another young girl learned how to ride her bike in a week camp without training wheels, but still had tons of fear of riding her bike and quickly unlearned how to ride a bike.
I figured that I was only hoping for our daughter to become more comfortable on her bike. We brought her trike and her bike with training wheels to camp for all five days. She basically would only ride her trike which we were okay with. However, we were not okay with the lack of encouragement from her Pedalheads instructor. I think the instructor asked her a total of 5 times if she wanted to try her other bike and there was no encouragement or interaction you would expect with a 3 year old.
I guess it is obvious from my tone already that we were not pleased with the Pedalheads experience. I will summarize everything quickly starting with the Pros….
*Our 3 year old was able to steer her tricycle better after going to the Pedalheads week long camp.
*The instructor we had was horrible. She put five pylons up every class and for an hour expected the 3 year olds to be entertained enough with circling around them. All the time the other kids in the other classes were playing games, riding through a sprinkler and other fund activities.
*One day the instructor did not even acknowledge our daughter when she arrived.
*The Supervisor yelled across the lot so all classes could hear, you jerk to another instructor which is not appropriate.
*The Supervisor was more interested in disturbing the instructors while they were teaching their classes with chasing them to pour water over their heads.
*My daughter was never taught what a stop signs was or what a red, yellow or green light means. She only knows what they mean because we taught her their meanings.
*We had to follow our daughter as she pedaled around the 5 cones and try to encourage her to go in and out of them. The Instructor was often distracted or seemed like she just could not bother.
*The only time the kids started to play a catch up to each other game was when we encouraged them too.
I did complain to the company and was offered another week of camp for free. I asked my 3 year old if she wanted to go again and she said no, that it was not fun. She finally agreed to try the camp again if she had a different instructor. So another week of Pedalheads camp was arranged with a different instructor.
I had to drag my daughter to the first class of the free week asking her to just try it and see if it is more fun. Honestly, the new instructor seemed amazing. She taught our daughter more in one hour than what she had done in the entire previous week of camp. However, the damage was done from the first experience and my daughter just would not go back for any of the other days for the free week of camp. The main problem this time was that they put our daughter in a camp with just her and the instructor. No other kids, no other friends to play and ride with. What fun is that for a 3 year old?
Will I ever try Pedalheads again? No, I think it was a waste of money.
My suggestions to the company would be as follows:
*focus on getting high quality instructors
*get better more mature supervisors
*have a curriculum that is developed and instructors are to follow
*have instructors for the younger kids that have experience working and communicating with three year olds
I did receive good customer service from the company once they knew I was not impressed with the camp experience. It was nice of them to offer another week for free. However, it is ridiculous that they put our daughter in a camp with no other kids.
That is my personal take on Pedalheads. Research them yourself if you are thinking of putting your child into a camp. If you have had an experience with the Pedalheads program please leave your comments for other parents. Have you had a better experience then we did?