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Follow The Story (Posted On: Thursday, May 12, 2016)

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Want a fun way to get your kids out of doors and encourage them to read at the same time? Take them on a StoryWalk!

Opening on May 27 along the Train Trail in Collingwood, StoryWalk is an initiative designed to encourage caregivers, teachers, and children to engage in the outdoors by combining literacy and physical activity.

Jennifer Parker of Healthy Kids Community Challenge and Ashley Kulchycki of the Collingwood Public Library

Pages of a picture book are positioned on wooden signs and covered with plexiglass to protect each page from the elements. As children - and adults - stroll along the path, the signs direct them to the next page in the story.

The idea was originally created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The concept has since caught on and StoryWalks are now installed in 11 countries, including the United States, Germany, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Canada.

Ashley Kulchycki, Supervisor of Children & Teen Services at the Collingwood Public Library, thought it would be a great project for Collingwood and got together with Jennifer Parker of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge to make it happen.

"Reading and playing are key components of early literacy," says Kulchycki. "The StoryWalk project is the perfect link for developing these skills."
Collingwood's StoryWalk begins at The Station Museum and runs along the Train Trail. The installation is planned to be permanent, with the picture book replaced by a new story every few months. The first book will be I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, about a young girl who explores the world of yoga and discovers the power of creativity and self-expression.

The public is invited to the launch of StoryWalk on Friday, May 27 at 10:00 a.m. at The Station Museum, 45 St. Paul Street in Collingwood.

After a ribbon cutting by Mayor Sandra Cooper, the public is invited to be among the first to try out the storybook trail. After the public opening, children from local schools in Grades 3, 4 and 5 have been invited to take hourly tours at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

"Collingwood Healthy Kids Community Challenge is excited to be a part of this exciting new initiative," says Parker. "StoryWalk encourages outdoor play, physical activity, and connecting our community to our parks and trails."

This project is presented by the Collingwood Public Library, The Town of Collingwood, and the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, and supported by Home Hardware Building Centre and Collingwood Collegiate Institute.

The Collingwood Public Library is committed to guiding our community in the pursuit of information, the wonder of lifelong learning, and the enrichment of social and cultural experiences. At the heart of the community, the Collingwood Public Library is an inclusive environment seeking universal accessibility.

Healthy Kids Community Challenge promotes healthy eating, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choice for children working in collaboration with the Town of Collingwood, province of Ontario and local community partners. 


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