MASON, Mich. — Mason High School family and consumer sciences students created a storybook walk at the Hayhoe Riverwalk on Wednesday.
Deb Schafer has been teaching child development for 25 years, and this is the first time she and her class have done an interactive storybook trail.
"We were looking for something to engage with preschoolers when we couldn’t bring the preschoolers into our classroom,” Schafer explained.
The Mason High School child development classes normally run a laboratory preschool, but couldn't bring preschoolers in this year due to COVID.
"So, we found a way to try to interact with children but at a distance," Schafer said. "We made signs that have things for young children to read, and some of them actually target developmental milestones of preschool and early elementary age children. And then to spark the imagination, we also have little fairy doors at the base of some trees because we know at this age they blur fantasy and reality so finding something like that and imagining there are fairies living in the woods can be really exciting to little kids.”
There are 24 fairy doors and six action signs throughout the trail, starting at the Howell Road entrance.
“The fairy doors can be helpful for counting as well for developing those skills because you can walk through and count them, and that’s something important for that age as well," said Mason High School junior Brenna Marshall.
The six signs throughout the walk, "start with a nursery rhyme or a riddle, and then they have some sort of prompt for them to follow or do that helps them develop those milestones for their age," Marshall said.
For example, there is a sign that alludes to the "Peter Piper" nursery rhyme.
“So they’re identifying the letter ‘P,’ and also counting how many times they see the letter ‘P,’ and then they can walk around the back and see if they got their answer right,” Schafer explained.
Another example is "Jack Be Nimble."
It asks how high you can jump because that’s a developmental milestone for ages four and five,” Marshall said.
Mason High School junior Mercedes McGee said she initially took this class with the hope to interact with preschoolers.
"But, it being COVID...we didn’t get to do it. I thought this would be an amazing idea, and I would love to have my cousins come out here and see this because they’re at the age of, you know, ‘Oh what can I do? Can I do this? Can I jump?’” McGee laughed.
“I like the prompts on the signs because it actually engages them, not just to read it or have a parent read it with them, but to do something to provoke movement and development in the kids,” Marshall said.
The interactive storybook walk will be up throughout the Hayhoe Riverwalk until June 9, the last day of school.
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