A Case Study

Silverdale School
Silverdale School/Use skateboarding to build student resilience.


Schools need to assist children to develop the personal and social skills to succeed in our fast changing world. Finding fun ways to do this in a school environment can be challenging. Success in any task is determined by willingness to step outside a ‘comfort zone’ and take on new challenges. Students need confidence, resilience and the desire to get back up and try again after failure. Perseverance after failure is essential. Year 3 Teacher Carolyn Holmes explains why this is important for the school’s students;

“We are looking for children to build their learning by perseverance, so the (Kiwisport) skateboarding sessions really came to the fore in helping make this happen for our students”.


  • Improve student’s self- confidence, perseverance and resilience inside and outside the classroom.

  • Provide leadership training and opportunities for students.

  • Empower students to lead and shape their own physical activity experience.

Solution: A student led, action-oriented, alternative recreation programme.

Silverdale School approached OnBoard Skate in 2016 to provide an alternative recreation opportunity for their students. With the help of Kiwisport funding provided by Harbour Sport, OnBoard Skate was able to deliver weekly “Skatesafe” learn to skateboard sessions to 225 students in Years 3 and above.
















After completion of the "Skatesafe” sessions OnBoard Skate CEO – Steve Hodges -  worked closely with the school’s Sports Coordinators to introduce skateboarding in the school as a regular alternative recreation opportunity for students.

Today the school runs student-led, lunchtime skateboard sessions - 4 x days per week (weather permitting) - for all students. In addition, the school purchased 10 x sets of safety pads (knees, elbows and wrist guards) and a set of portable skateboard ramps.

“I think skateboarding was one of the best PD’s we have done. Thank you”.


With the introduction of the weekly lunch-time skateboard sessions, students of all ages and abilities now have the opportunity to participate in an accessible, fun, social, alternative recreation activity that they can do with friends and siblings at their school.

Students have access to safety equipment (knee, elbow and wrist guards) to help minimise the potential risk of injury and encourage greater perseverance and resilience in the event of a fall.

“For some children, it was the first time they had been on a skateboard, so they did have to persevere, but they were all very keen to do it (skateboard)”.

“I don’t think there was a single child that wasn’t getting involved in the sessions”.


“We are building resilience. When they fell off, they got straight back up again. You often don’t see that (in other activities). Normally when kids find it too hard, they cry or give up, but with the skateboarding they were just back on the boards and off they went again”.


The set of portable skate ramps acquired by the school means students organise themselves to create different skate courses. They can also arrange ramps and obstacles to challenge themselves when they are ready to test their physical and mental abilities to a higher level.

Students lead the weekly lunchtime skateboard sessions. A group of senior students were trained by OnBoard Skate staff in the safe delivery of skateboarding sessions to other students in the school.

“What a lovely opportunity for our intermediate and senior students to take on a leadership role to help the younger kids learn to skateboard.
















“They (student leaders) are not just helping the little ones (junior students) but they are also empowering themselves as well and developing those leadership skills and being really good supportive members”.





The skills (perseverance, risk taking, resilience) that students are learning through their participation in the skateboarding sessions are having a positive effect in the classroom.


“I think risk-taking and perseverance has carried on into the classroom as well. We talk about that. For example, I say to the students; when you are doing your skateboarding, you don’t give up, this (classwork) is the same (as riding a skateboard). If you find it hard, you persevere, we don’t give up, we keep on going”.

Skateboarding has provided opportunities for girls to participate on an equal footing with the boys. This is able to occur because skateboarding is an individual, non-judgmental, challenge-by-choice activity where girls and boys can skateboard together in the same space. Each person can do their own thing without having to worry about comparing themselves to others around them. This makes it more fun and accessible to people of all abilities, ages, genders, and ethnic and/or religious identity.

“Not every girl excels in the classroom. But they can excel out here because there’s no judgment. There’s a little bit of risk and a little bit of challenge, which is good”.


In this case study, we have shown how the introduction of a regular, student led skateboard programme, can have a positive impact on children’s;

  • Willingness to engage in independent physical activity.

  • Individual self-confidence, perseverance and resilience.

  • Opportunities to gain practical leadership skills.