When I was a young mom I hated having to take my twin girls to preschool every day! I wanted to stay with them, like I had been able to do for their brother, and I felt guilty and sad that I had to leave them while I went to work. I would drop Noah off at elementary school in the morning, and Cordelia and Claire and I got into the habit of taking a walk around the block near their preschool before I had to drop them off. This simple routine became a precious and fun ritual for us each day. (I later became assistant director of that preschool – so I no longer had to leave them, but we still continued to enjoy our daily walks!)
When I was going through my divorce and finishing school, every chance I got I would take a walking break. It helped me process the stress I was feeling productively, enabled me to get in shape, and I enjoyed the exercise and fresh air each day, even in the snow and rain.
I had the opportunity to apply for a Department of Health Worksite Wellness Grant for Little Nest Preschool in 2017, and I contemplated on what we could do to help our teachers improve their wellness, and my thoughts turn to the many times that a simple walk would help me feel better. We don’t have any sidewalks or parks near our workplace and so it got me thinking…
In true preschool fashion- my proposal was in crayon… But that’s another story!
All employees are encouraged to take walking breaks in our handbook. Knowing the South Dakota weather doesn’t always cooperate, there’s almost always direct sun, there aren’t any walking parks in Rapid Valley, and our field can sometimes become muddy, I wanted to see what we could do to create a more inviting area that staff and families could share.
After many hours of hard work, our path became a reality!
The walking path is now completed, with inspirational signs, a gravel walkway, and a couple of trees which hopefully will grow to 40 feet tall to cast a nice amount of shade.
There’s even a tiny crab apple tree, taken from the yard at my house (our original preschool location). I live in a house I inherited from my grandmother. There are so many wonderful memories from my childhood with the beautiful blooms from my grandmother’s home. We named this baby tree “Joy” in her memory.
All preschool families and staff are invited to use our path! We only ask that you continue to help your children respect the space if you use it- don’t hang on the signs, throw rocks, or step on “Joy” 😉 Students know these rules and have done very well over the past year!