If you’re looking for something fun and safe to do with your family outdoors, consider putting on your walking shoes and heading over to White Oaks Park for a stroll and story. Story Stroll at White Oaks Park is a new outdoor walking story activity that both children and adults can enjoy together in the park.
Each month a new picture book will be displayed along 20 stands that weave throughout the park, each with one page of a picture book. The story begins near the South London Community Centre and the Jalna Library and makes its way along the path towards the White Oaks Family Centre toward Ernest Avenue. This month’s story is Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin.
Story Stroll aims to increase family literacy through engagement in community spaces and encourages healthy physical activity in neighbourhoods. This interactive outdoor reading experience provides a unique opportunity for families to be physically active while reading a story outdoors as an alternative to typical book reading spaces.
This is an initiative of London’s Child and Youth Network and is supported by community partners including the London Public Library, White Oaks Family Centre, South London Community Centre, and South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre. Community partners are working to bring story strolls to other neighbourhoods across London.
“This project has already brought the community together in many positive ways,” says Olivia Stedman, Public Services Librarian, London Public Library. “We’ve seen the impact Story Stroll display is having, not just with parents and children who are reading the story together, but also from older adults, who’ve promised to keep an eye on the installation and promote it to others. We’re looking forward to promoting and maintaining the exhibit and updating it with new picture books regularly.”
“As an initiative of London’s Child and Youth Network, a collective of over 170 partners in our community working together to increase and improve outcomes for children, youth, and families, Story Stroll integrates literacy into a neighbourhood and provides a fun and interactive literacy activity for families who are accessing the space and may be looking for outdoor activities that allow for following all COVID-19 precautions,” says Cheryl Smith, Managing Director, Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services at the City of London.
“Now more than ever as families are trying to increase outdoor experiences, this initiative is a safe and fun way to get outside and engage in literacy as a family,” Shelley Byfield, Program Coordinator, White Oaks Family Centre. While we’ve adopted the program during the COVID-19 pandemic we look forward to offering more activities related to expertly curates stories featured in the display in the future at the White Oaks Family Centre and the Jalna Library Branch.
While enjoying Story Stroll, Londoners are reminded to continue practicing health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 including maintaining physical distance of at least 2 metres between others using the story spaces.