Success StoryStorywalks



Storywalks

Author: Kenna Knight

Planning Unit: Pendleton County CES

Major Program: Child Development Programs

Plan of Work: Promoting Health and Wellness from cradle to grave

Outcome: Long-Term Outcome

In 2020 while looking for innovative ways to reach youth and conduct programs amid a pandemic, StoryWalks® were adopted in Pendleton County due to the program's flexibility. Early childhood literacy and kindergarten readiness were our primary focus. Kentucky has reported that only 52% of children attending kindergarten are considered ready, and in Pendleton County, is only 41.1%. Kindergarten readiness, early childhood literacy, increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and increased physical activity are the goals we have adapted, grown, and expanded with our StoryWalks® for the past three years.   StoryWalk® is hosted as a one-day event multiple times per year, with a target audience of youth ages 3-9.

At each StoryWalk® a quick evaluation of those attending is distributed at the book and market token booth. The assessment provides contact information for the families for follow-up. At our first StoryWalk® and each year, the early childhood development committee re-evaluates our kindergarten readiness with a quick survey distributed to families. This provides the knowledge of those skills that still need to be mastered and lets us evaluate our efforts. The data collected helps us determine the focus of our educational resources shared with the families at future StoryWalks®. 

 At each StoryWalk® we capture data from those attending the event. In 2020 our county kindergarten readiness scores were at 34%. In our most recent data collection, an increase to 41% of youth were reported kindergarten ready. Data collected at our walks have demonstrated an increase of 2 hours per week in the number of hours families read to their children, an increase in Farmers' Market participants with 30 % reporting StoryWalk® was the first time at the market, 79% shared they use the material provided at walks with their families helping to enhance their child’s fine and gross motor skills, 66% having walked a new trail for the first time and 58 % have walked the trail again not during a StoryWalk®.  

We have watched event participation grow with each walk, our last two walks reaching over 150 youth attending, with families numbering almost 500 participants. In the first year, we averaged 100 youth and about 350 total participants. 

On average, each StoryWalk® generates $750 additional revenue for our Farmers' Market vendors through our tokens, funded through agent-secured grants. An overall three-year total of nearly $8000 in additional revenue for local farmers through the tokens, also bringing awareness and access to local fruits and vegetables. Participants walk at least a mile as a family and learn about new trails they can walk and explore together at their leisure.

StoryWalk® plans for Pendleton County are going strong for 2023. We plan to continue four to five walks a year. With each walk, we will look at how we can increase partners and opportunities to enhance early childhood education, physical activity, and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  






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