In 2013, a workgroup of the Early Childhood Community Council, a collaboration lead by Greater Gallatin United Way, formed to plan for a Born Learning Trail in Gallatin County. ECCC purchased 3 Born Learning Trail kits from United Way Worldwide and the workgroup began to meet with community partners to identify local parks and trails that would benefit and implement a Born Learning Trail. Born Learning Trails provide parents, caregivers and children with learning and active play opportunities in an outdoor setting. Signs are placed along the Trail, providing skill developing activities, examples include:
- Watch! Stop! Learn! Play! Encourages the caregiver to follow the child’s lead, building the child’s curiosity and confidence.
- See! Say! Point! Pretend! Encourages playfulness with letters and sounds, building pre-literacy skills.
- Jump! Clap! Skip! More! Encourages physical activity and gross motor skills, which are important for kindergarten.
- Look! Listen! Touch! Think! Encourages exploration of nature, building a child’s problem-solving skills.
In early 2016, the Belgrade Community Library expressed interest in setting up one of the Learning Trials in the River Rock community in Belgrade. Officials from the River Rock Property Owners Association supported the idea and on June 8th, 2016 the Belgrade Community Library, in partnership with ECCC, hosted a Born Learning Trail kickoff event and over 70 Belgrade community members participated. The Born Learning Trail was temporarily set up for the event and the Library is working to find a permanent home for it. The 2 other kits are also still available and ECCC is looking to find permanent placements for them as well.