Story Time at the UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History
By Taylor J. Hale
Special to the Gazette
STEVENS POINT — The densely forested woodlands of northern Wisconsin can seem like far-off exotic expanses of tundra to children.
Story Time at the UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History has been helping acquaint kids with the environment that surrounds them, while simultaneously providing language and motors skills. Each semester, college volunteers dedicate their time to educate children, mainly ages 2-5, through storytelling and crafts.
“Every other week we share a story or two about a specific animal, and then we provide a craft or activity for the students to do together to engage the literary components of the program with a hands-on activity,” said Alli Fontana, UWSP student volunteer.
Fontana is a senior at UWSP, studying communication sciences and disorders. It will be her first and last year in the program. But she will relish the time she spent with her peers teaching the youth.
“I love to see the excitement from the children, and their interest in the books. They genuinely seem to enjoy the stories,” Fontana said.
She feels that the Story Time program offers a lot to a child’s curricula, and believes it gives kids a chance to get off the sofa. The volunteers have learned to utilize the energetic flow of the children to their academic advantage. They use Play-Doh, cutting projects and coloring to teach the children fine-motor skills on top of the literary themes they study during the story sessions.
“I think it’s important for children to have the opportunity to socialize and engage in hands-on activities. The literary factor is also very critical,” Fontana said articulately. “It’s necessary for kids to have exposure to books and language, along with the overall ideas shared throughout the stories.”
The museum wants to give children a scholastic insight into the wilderness that encompasses them. Each session, the mixture of readings, crafts, and discussions help the youth grow an understanding of native animals and plant life. The volunteers welcome all ardent youth in their zealous efforts to learn and grow.
Story Time at the UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History starts each semester. The last date for the fall 2018 semester is Dec. 14.
For free registration or more info email Museum@uwsp.edu.