At a few neighborhood elementary schools, families can go on a different sort of stroll.
“This is a unique reading opportunity that supports our whole community, no matter your mode of learning or age,” said Dr. Janell Bagwell, Field Elementary School principal. “We are just getting started, but we’ve already seen people walking through and reading the story. We love how it ties literature with physical activity.”
In November, the sidewalks near Field Elementary were lined with signs sharing the story of We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger. The autumnal children’s story tells of three children who hear the crunch, see the colors and chase the wind on a leaf-hunting adventure.
Every 20 feet, walkers can find a new page of the story illustrated on a metal sign – a project made possible by a collaboration between the Springfield-Greene County Library District and the Field Elementary PTA.
“In our Field PTA board meeting, we were brainstorming ideas to engage our community, and that led to a phone call to our Schweitzer Brentwood branch,” said Kayshia Rosenbury, Field PTA president and parent. “I wanted to see if the library had any pointers to help us create a StoryWalk like theirs, which we had seen. Ms. Jeannine Birkenfield was so delighted and offered for us to host one of their StoryWalks instead.”
The Field community chose Leaf Hunt from a group of library-provided titles because the story encourages exploration, leading students and families to inquire more about the changing season. A date was set to compliment the tale, and the Library debuted the signs on Nov. 4.
Community members, neighbors, families and students have enjoyed and experienced their own leaf hunts, the perfect pairing of literacy and exercise for Springfield families, said Nancee Dahms-Stinson, youth services coordinator.
“I was not expecting that initial call to end with us being a Library partner,” said Rosenbury. “But it was such a great feeling of kismet, and this is one way we maintain connectedness during this challenging year.”
In December, Fremont Elementary School hosted a StoryWalk at 2814 N. Fremont Ave.