Learning through story goes outdoors at two AMDSB schools

Huron Centennial Public School and Stephen Central Public School students got to enjoy stories outside over the past few months through StorytimeTrail. This instructional tool from OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation provides schools with outdoor story programming. 

The benefits to an outdoor book walk are many, including a break from the classroom, physical activity as students move from one sign to another, increased fresh air time, and learning connected to equity and diversity.

 Collage of images of students reading signs with story pages on them outside on school grounds. Image of cover of book Trampoline Boy. Storytime Trail logo.

Huron Centennial enjoyed a story called Trampoline Boy by Nan Forler: 

“Through the eyes of a character we only know as Trampoline Boy, we are invited to understand how he sees the world. His favorite thing to do is jump up and down, up and down on his trampoline. Kids walk by and tease him, but he remains steadfast and calm. One day, a quietly exuberant girl, Peaches, is fascinated by his jumping. Trampoline Boy wordlessly invites her to jump with him, and by spending this time with him, Peaches and readers get to see how important and valuable different perspectives are.…”

Waterproof election-style signs with parts of the story were spread out through the school’s extensive grounds. Each sign had extras such as QR codes which linked to author and illustrator videos, though at Huron Centennial, the wifi network and the weather did not always cooperate for classes to be able to use those features. Students did however learn valuable lessons from the story and enjoyed outdoor education.

Photo of school grounds with Storytime Trail signs posted around 

After following the trail to read all the parts of the story, classes returned indoors and the learning based on the story was extended in other ways using the provided lesson plan and educator knowledge and discretion. 

In January, Stephen Central experienced the Storytime Trail version of the book Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson. This is “a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit.”

Image showing students wearing winter gear looking at sign containing part of a story outdoors

“My class really enjoyed the Storytime Trail,” says Stephen Grade 2/3 teacher Erin Robinson. “We used it as a part of our Family Literacy Day activities in January. My students were excited to enjoy the story outside - some were so excited, they ran from one page to the next. My students really love listening to stories being read aloud, but this experience added the physical component of walking/running from one page to the next. My students loved it! It was a great way to take the learning outside and incorporate movement as well.”

Photo showing students in winter gear on school grounds, looking at sign containing part of a story

Stephen Central has another Storytime Trail story they hope to unveil this coming spring.