STORYWALK AND VIRTUAL P.E.

COOLIDGE PUBLIC LIBRARY, ARIZONA, USA

Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, we wanted to find a way to continue to provide programming for our community, while also promoting healthy living and outdoor activity. With a generous grant from the Arizona State Library, via the U.S. Institute of Museum & Library Services, we were able to install a StoryWalk® in San Carlos Park, our small city’s (pop. 11,825) main park. The StoryWalk® includes motions and dance moves to promote an active lifestyle, while reading and enjoying a lively picture book in the beautiful Arizona sunshine.

We are complementing this in-person installation with a new program, Move & Groove, which started in 2021, on the first Tuesday of the month. This virtual P.E. class has been great for kids that are being homeschooled during the pandemic, as well as just a way for parents to bond with their children through movement.  The Move & Groove program includes virtual exercises led by our partner, Child & Family Resources. In January 2021, we offered Yoga, and in February we’re offering Zumbini (Zumba for kids), both via Zoom. Anyone can join us, the Zoom link for February is https://bit.ly/FebMoveandGroove and all are welcome!

Impacts. The Coolidge StoryWalk® has truly been a hit. It’s promoted healthy living, as well as early literacy. Our StoryWalk® prompts our community to get outdoors, get active, and have some fun. Our StoryWalk® has also helped encourage our community to get outside and to utilize our city park. We know that our community has enjoyed the StoryWalk® but this has been reinforced through survey responses that say, “Really loved it!,” “Thank you for adding this addition to San Carlos Park!,” and “My daughter had a blast. She was laughing the whole way around.” We hope to be promoting a more active and involved lifestyle for everyone in Coolidge.

The Move & Groove program has provided younger kids and parents with a place to exercise, play, and dance together, while also interacting with others. As the program continues, we hope it will be a great outlet for families that are homeschooling for the first time. It can be difficult to learn from home, but when it comes to a P.E. option, it can be even harder to find good resources, as well as ones that include engagement from others. We want this program to get families moving, bonding, and having fun!

Author: Megan Carbiener, MLIS, Librarian, Coolidge Public Library
Published: January 2021

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Lessons learned: Think creatively about how to engage your community in healthy living programming by utilizing outdoor spaces and virtual spaces

Get some help from partners, such as state libraries, parks & recreation, and youth-oriented non-profits.

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