Concord Academy Boyne combines walking & learning

cab trail webBeth Gohs

Staff Writer

Concord Academy Boyne has presented this year’s 4th and 5th graders with a new program incorporated into their curriculum by walking while listening to the curriculum.

Two Concord Academy Boyne teachers applied for grants to obtain funds for iPods so the children can use them while walking the trail made for the project.

“We walk twice a week, for 20 minutes, with the students, hence the walking classroom,” said Concord Academy Boyne fourth-grade teacher Cinda Shumaker. “The students listen to content while we walk. The walking helps deliver oxygen to their brains helping them think better. It allows them to get outside, and moving in addition to recess—it definitely helps improve their attention and fidgeting.”

The teachers created the program and designed the curriculum, then they mapped out the path for the trail and Sam Kosc, a former Concord Academy Boyne teacher and school board member, cleared the path and maintains it.

The cost of these devices was $2,200 per classroom, and though the grant is not an ongoing opportunity, Shumaker said she hopes that when they need an upgrade, such items will be provided.

Kosc maintains the trail currently and helps stimulate the students by creating signs along the way for the kids to enjoy.

“There’s really not a lot of maintenance to it. There’s a wetland—next year I’ll put some mulch in there. And, since it’s been raining so much, I made a detour,” he said. “It’s not like the Charlevoix bike trail, I just mowed it and Mrs. Simmons and Mrs. Shumaker laid out where it goes.”
He added, “You can see some abandoned farm land, and wild grasses… It’s very different elevations and shows where there is some pioneer growth coming in that used to be pasture land.”

Shumaker said Kosc even puts straw down when the ground is too wet.

“He’s even created detours to make it fun for the kids, so we can go around the hill or around the wet area,” she said. “He’s a bit of a jokester and has made fun signs for the kids along the path. We all get a chuckle out of him.”

Shumaker added, “We would not have this trail without Mr. Kosc’s efforts and we thank him greatly for that. He comes at no charge. He just loves coming out doing it for the school and for the kids.”

This special offering also covers a variety of learning opportunities.

“Content includes science, social studies, language arts and eating healthy and exercising, pretty much anything you can think of,” said Shumaker.

She added, “Once we’re back in the classroom we discuss what we’ve listened to and we take a comprehension quiz at the end, so students have to really listen.”

The content was created by the fifth-grade teacher who came up with the curriculum in collaboration with other professionals in the same field.

“The benefits of the program are vast,” said Shumaker. “Not only do we get the kids outside and walking more for the healthy kids initiative, we are also giving them a way to learn through auditorily, another standard for speaking and listening.”

Kosc said he was happy to help the school with clearing a path for the trail and is optimistic about this program.

“I certainly credit the teachers for applying for a grant and writing out a grant,” he said. “And the grant people obviously think that it’s worthwhile.