New Ossining Trail Aims to Boost Young Learners’ Language, Engagement

Ossining School District staff, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Village of Ossining employees pose for a photo after installing a Born Learning Trail.

There will be a lot more skipping, hopping, wiggling, looking and learning in Nelson Sitting Park, thanks to a “Born Learning Trail” the Ossining School District and the United Way installed Sept. 17.

Ossining district staff, Village of Ossining employees and the United Way of Westchester and Putnam spent a couple hours putting up the polls and signs – in English and Spanish – for the 10-station trail. They painted yellow, orange, blue and red letters and designs along the pathway to encourage activities.

One sign asks parents and caregivers to point to the letters “A,” “B” and “C” on the walkway and make the sounds each letter makes, ask children to think of words that start with those letters, and come up with rhyming words.

Other signs suggest hopping like a frog, making each other smile and laugh, playing hopscotch and telling stories.

The trails are part of a nationwide effort by Born Learning and the United Way to promote quality engagement, bonding experiences and learning opportunities for children 5 and younger.

“These trails are really designed to connect what kids learn in the classroom with what they experience in the real world, and it’s for early childhood education,” said Avery Zuvic, director of community impact for UWWP.

Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said the school district received permission from Ossining Village to put the trail in the park. It fits in well with the Ossining Basics initiative, which the district and community launched in 2016 to boost children’s language and literacy skills so they arrive at school ready to learn.

“Clearly you want kids to go to the park, but this gives them an opportunity to develop language while they’re here,” Dr. Sanchez said.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Park School, across the street from the park, visit regularly.

“We are so happy that the Born Learning Trail is bilingual,” said Melissa Stoller, Park School assistant principal. “It is also a great way for parents to support their children to build oral language, relationships, have fun and learn how we use our bodies to communicate with others.”

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