Walk through some stories at Finn, Woodward, and Chestnut Hill Farm

Above: Chestnut Hill Farm and Southborough’s lower schools have StoryWalks® to encourage reading and outdoor activity this summer. (images L-R from Facebook and contributed)

For parents looking for something to do with kids these days aways from screens, I’m posting a reminder. Southborough has three StoryWalks® available to the public.

If you aren’t familiar, StoryWalks take children’s picture books and split the pages across outdoor displays. The purpose is to encourage literacy and outdoor physical activity.

The public is invited to make use of the displays. (Just be sure to take precautions about physical distancing from others, masks, etc.)

Below are more details on the displays around town.

Chestnut Hill Farm
(On the trails off of Chestnut Hill Farm Road)

The Trustees of Reservations installed a StoryWalk at the farm last summer. At that time, they shared:

Chestnut Hill Farm Storywalk from June 2019StoryWalk is an innovative and delightful way for children — and adults! — to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Conceived as a way to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to take young children outside for physical activity and to learn, StoryWalk helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity for everyone.

Laminated pages from a children’s book are attached to wooden stakes, which are installed along one of our farm’s trails. As you stroll down the trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story. What a lovely way to enjoy the farm!

Before you go, check out the Chestnut Hill Farm trails map.

Chestnut Hill Farm storywalk Spring 2020 cropped from FacebookThis spring, they again encouraged the public to enjoy the storyboards along the trails. The details included:

A new story will be posted each month so you can enjoy our StoryWalk over and over. . .

**How to get to the StoryWalk**
When driving down Chestnut Hill Farm Road, park in the last parking lot on the right (“trailhead parking” on the map). Follow the Field Road up the hill. The fenced-off nesting birds habitat will be on your left. At the end of the field road, where the Maple Loop begins, you’ll find the start of the StoryWalk. Please sign our visitor’s log so we know you’ve participated in our StoryWalk! The short, easy hike into the woods will take you along a portion of the Oak Loop and back out to the fields. Then follow the Overlook Trail down the hill — it connects to the Field Road.

The story shown as on display was Spring is Here by Heidi Pross Gray. I know, summer is actually here now. I was told that the farm planned to change the story that in late June/early July. (Which could mean it has already been switched out.)

Mary E. Finn Elementary School
(60 Richards Road) 

Former Principal Randell at yesterday's dedication (contributed photo)The school for PreK-1st graders was the first Southborough location to feature a temporary display in 2016.

Last year, permanent display cases was installed as part of an Eagle Scout Project and in collaboration with the Southborough Education Foundation. The first displayed story, All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfolds and Suzanne Kaufman, was dedicated to former Principal James Randell last fall. (You can read more about that here.)

This month, Principal Clayton Ryan confirmed that the same story is still on display:

All Are Welcome Here is the story on display at Finn SchoolGreat book and very timely, and promotes the fact that all students, “no matter what, have a place, have a space, and are ALL WELCOME in their school.”

Last June, I previewed that Finn School would be opening a StoryWalk® this fall, thanks to work by a Southborough Scout, former school librarian, and the Southborough Education Foundation. Yesterday, the school held the grand opening for the display. As was done at Woodward last fall, the ceremony included a dedication to former Principal James Randell.

The new displays will be used by Finn classrooms, but are also open to the public when school isn’t in session.

The initial story on display is “All Are Welcome”. The book was selected to reflect the inclusive ideals embraced by the former school leader.

The StoryWalk is open to the general public when school isn’t in session.

Albert S. Woodward Memorial School
(28 Cordaville Road)

Students enjoying WW spring storyboard displayThe school for 2nd-3rd graders was the first Southborough school also began featuring temporary displays in 2016. A permanent display (also dedicated to former Principal Randell) was installed in September 2018. 

This summer, Principal Steven Mucci informs me that The Furry Animal Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta is on display.

The Furry Animal Alphabet Book The Furry Animal Alphabet Book

When the weather cools down, School Librarian Lori Winer plans to replace it with Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland.

The Woodward StoryWalk is also open to the general public when school isn’t in session.

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