Learning trail established at city park

If you pass by City Lake Park in Russellville and see parents and children hopping on one foot, imitating their favorite animals or flapping their wings like a bird, don’t be alarmed.

Park goers are more than likely following the instructions on eight signs erected on Friday as part of United Way of Northwest Alabama’s Success by 6 Program.

United Way staffers as well as Russellville Park and Recreation employees and community volunteers from CB&S Bank installed the signs as part of the Training Tracks Learning Trail, which is an interactive trail that contains signs with instructions for simple games that any adult can play with young children

The Training Tracks Trail is designed to help adults use outdoor activities to boost language and literacy development and to help caregivers understand how best to support early learning in outdoor everyday moments.

Success by 6 director Crystal Magruder said it’s also a great way to turn an excursion at the park into fun learning moments.

“With our Training Tracks Learning Trail, we hope to fill in those gaps in education by providing educational opportunities and resources for parents and childcare providers who may not have the funds or resources to provide it themselves,” Magruder said.

“We also want to show everyone how easy it is to turn everyday moments into teachable moments.
“We know that what happens in a child’s early years is significant for school readiness and success in life.

“Success by 6 wants to do whatever we can to help parents and caregivers use everyday outings, including trips to City Lake Park, to support that learning.”

The trail signs were created in partnership with students from the University of North Alabama’s Department of Education and are based on the latest early childhood research and approved by national early learning experts.

“We appreciate United Way choosing the city of Russellville as one of their sites for a Training Tracks Learning Trail,” Russellville Mayor David Grissom said.

“This is a great opportunity for our parents and our children to be able to spend quality time together in an outdoor environment while learning and having a fun time.

“Having an elementary-age daughter, I know myself and my wife, Melissa, will enjoy doing these activities with Kate, and I hope many other parents will take part in this great opportunity as well.”

The instructional signs are placed at regular intervals along the existing walking trail that surrounds City Lake Park.

Success by 6 of Northwest Alabama hopes to install more trails throughout the United Way coverage area, including Franklin, Colbert, and Lauderdale counties.

The inaugural Training Tracks Trail was installed at Gattmann Park in Muscle Shoals in October of 2013.

For more information regarding the Training Tracks Learning Trail, or Success by 6, please contact Magruder at 256-764-5892 or visit the United Way website at www.uwnwal.org.

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