HANFORD — Volunteers are needed to share their love of literature by reading to students at the Children’s Storybook Garden and Museum.
The museum and garden, which held its grand opening in November 2017, hosts field trips from local and regional schools daily.
The museum currently has about 50 rotating volunteers, ranging from readers, gardeners, carpenters to build the structures on the property and volunteers to sell and take tickets.
“We can’t really rely on the same 50 people every day,” Meaghan Hahn, education director and lead teacher, said.
The museum’s main need in terms of volunteers is readers. Each field trip is comprised of two or three classes — grades TK through second — usually totaling between 50 and 75 children.
“Rather than try to teach 60 kids at once, it’s more effective to break them up into smaller groups,” Hahn said. And more groups mean more volunteers.
Currently, every elementary school in Hanford is signed up for field trips to the museum, as well as schools in Huron, Lemoore and Laton. Hahn hopes schools from Visalia and Tulare are added to the list.
Hahn acknowledges that reading to a room full of second graders “can be intimidating,” so instructors at the museum are available to give tips to any potential readers and Hahn said a YouTube channel with a full instructional video on how to keep students’ attention during stories is in the works.
The certified instructors put an emphasis on activities to underline what they’ve read. For example, after reading a story about farming, the students will then go out and plant seeds in the garden.
“We teach through literature and hands-on experiences,” Hahn said. “The literature part is very important to us.”
The museum is also working on plans to build a stone cottage and a gazebo that can be used for weddings, receptions and ceremonies.
Earth Day will be celebrated at the museum with a day of health and wellness. Museum officials are seeking doctors, dentists and fitness instructors to teach children about ways to become, and stay, healthy. Eating healthfully, after all, starts with keeping the earth where food is grown healthy, Hahn said. Children will also learn how to make wind chimes out of recycled materials.