Local artist and art teacher Anita Brunckhurst, left, shows Your Literacy Connection Westshore outreach coordinator Shantel Sleight how to make a Pete the Cat whirligig at the Juan de Fuca Library in advance of the third annual Family Learning Tour.

Local artist and art teacher Anita Brunckhurst, left, shows Your Literacy Connection Westshore outreach coordinator Shantel Sleight how to make a Pete the Cat whirligig at the Juan de Fuca Library in advance of the third annual Family Learning Tour.

West Shore Learning Tour opens minds of young and old alike

Your Literacy Connection Westshore and partners team up for fun weekend

Children, their parents and anyone else with a thirst for learning will be making crafts, sharing stories and playing music at libraries and recreation centres, in parks and on trolleys this Saturday (Jan. 24).

It’s all part of the third annual Family Learning Tour put on by Your Literacy Connection Westshore and various community partners, and it’s sure to be a fun adventure for all participants.

Participants will be scampering around the West Shore enjoying and celebrating learning for learning’s sake, says Shantael Sleight, the organization’s literacy outreach co-ordinator.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to bring awareness to the value of family literacy and learning with your children,” Sleight, says. The tour makes learning fun for all ages by holding the activities in casusal, leisurely environments rather than in a classroom or other structured situation, she adds.

“I think what’s most important about this event is that it’s fun. There’s no preachiness going on; we’re not saying, ‘this is the way you need to do it.’ You choose what you want to check out and you’ll probably walk away with something that’s valuable.”

When people learn in a formal setting, such as a classroom, they are being taught “at,” Sleight says. When they are learning casually, in an interactive environment – especially with other family members – they can explore ideas more fluidly, engage in conversations that naturally progress from topics and develop a different, possibly broader, way of thinking about their world, she says.

“The more literacy we have, the more we can build our capacity as both individuals and as a community. The more information that sticks can only help us to grow.”

The word “tour” is maybe misleading in this case, as it’s not a guided event in any way. There are a series of activities in various locations that participants can engage in, but there’s no structured order in which to do them.

One of these is a story walk, where families can wander the trail around the Juan de Fuca Library reading the story of Pete the Cat on plaques along the way.

Participants can then join local artist and art teacher Anita Brunckhurst inside the library itself to create their own Pete the Cat whirligig (a spinning construction-paper creation resembling the character from the book).

There will also be a “take-apart learning station” at Pacific Centre Family Services on Wale Road, where kids can dissect small appliances to find out how they work, then use the parts to build new contraptions of their own design.

And who hasn’t ever wanted to be part of story time on the Langford Trolley?

The full schedule of events and sponsors can be found at sookewestshoreliteracy.ca/westshore or by searching “Westshore Literacy” on Facebook.

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com

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