Guardian Springfield play hide and seek with books to boost community connections
The children and educators of Guardian Early Learning Springfield were inspired by the 2019 Book Week theme “Reading is my Secret Power” to spread books in secret, ensuring families and children throughout their local community could share the love of a good story.
Described by a spokesperson as “an epic game of hide and seek”, educational leader for the service, Amanda Heka-Tutahi, said the idea initially came from a rock seeking game already popular in the area.
“The children are always finding the rocks and bringing them back to the centre, and have created their own rocks and hid them in the park as a way of sharing and giving back,” she said.
“This inspired us to start book hide and seek as a part of Book Week, and share our love of reading with the wider community. We believe all children should be able to access books as it’s important for language and literacy development and it is also fun to take some time and read a book together” she added.
In the past month, the children from Springfield have had “multiple excursions” to Robelle Domain parklands, carrying books along with them, eager to hide them for local families to find.
“With a note attached to each book, the children search for the perfect hiding place in hopes that other children will find the books and share a story together.
“The children get so excited when they take the books down to hide. They take their time to search for the perfect hiding spot and enjoy watching people walk past to see if they are going to spot the book,” Ms Heka-Tutahi said.
“The person who finds the book can read the story while out in nature. They can then either choose to re-hide the book, keep the book or bring their own book down to hide and continue the cycle of shared literacy.”
To help share further information about the project, the children helped to create a poster to place at the front of each book, and to place the books into plastic sleeves to protect them from the elements. The Springfield team then created a Facebook page for the community to share where they find each book.
“I didn’t expect many people to share their finds with us on the page but the community has been really responsive and thinks it’s a great idea,” Ms Heka-Tutahi said.
“Another early learning centre also got involved after seeing our children hiding the books. It was special to know we had inspired so many people and children in the community to get outdoors and read.”
Families at the service have been very supportive of the project, continuing to hide and engage with the books on afternoons and weekends.
To further extend the learning, families are bringing books from home for the children to take out and hide.
The service, Ms Heka-Tutahi said, are looking forward to continuing to grow the love of literacy throughout the wider Springfield community by continuing the project and encouraging everyone to be involved.
For more information about Guardian Early Learning Springfield, please see here.