This past Saturday, March 5, 2001, the New Brighton Elementary School had it’s annual story walk. The story walk has been going on for about five or six years. I have taken my daughter the last two years, she thoroughly enjoys the day. The staff from several of our schools, and in some cases their families and former staff, come in school and create a family reading, craft, and fun day for several hours. Laura Fryer, our Elementary Librarian organizes the event and works on getting the funding through various grants.
The story walk itself consists of a number of areas where students are read stories and get to create crafts related to those stories. There are several other stations where they can make a healthy snack, play in the gymnasium, or listen to music. Every child in attendance gets to choose a free book to take home and keep forever. It seemed like many of the children remember this fact, because the books were rushed right off the bat. For awhile we were unsure if we would have enough books, but the demand evened out and we did have a number to keep for next year’s event. This year there were 5 or 6 stations with the event having on overall open theme. Last year, the theme was a story from every continent.
This year over 260 children and their families attended the event, a marked increase over the past couple of years. A number of parents gave unsolicited feedback about how they enjoy the event and their kids look forward to it every year. It would be nice to think that the numbers will continue to improve, bringing the community together with the school and strengthening the overall relationship.
With budgets shrinking or being gutted, we are already brainstorming ways to fund the endeavor next year. The goal is to ensure that we can meet the growing demand and allow all the children to participate fully in the event. We believe we can make it happen with some help from the community and others in our personal networks. Hopefully next year’s post will talk about how the numbers continue to increase and have more success stories of collaboration between our schools and the community.