All photos provided by the author
For this summer, Spaulding Elementary and McAlister Intermediate Schools will be joining forces to participate in a “One Book One Community” read. The program is designed to create a shared experience within the school community which, in this case, is defined as all preschool through 5th grade students.
Christy Baril, the K-5 Humanities Curriculum Coach, Joy Tierney and Kristin Johnson, the Library Media Specialists at McAlister and Spaulding respectively, have chosen the highly rated chapter book Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech for the family read. With intertwining themes of friendship, family, and life lessons, it is the story of a young boy who befriends an ailing newborn donkey and nurses him back to health against all odds.
Each student or family will receive a copy of the book courtesy of the Suffield Public School system.
To kick off the event, students were treated to a visit from Alison Mnich of Roaring Acres Alpacas on Tuesday, May 31, and Thursday, June 2. Mnich brought four alpacas and three Painted Desert sheep (which looked like little goats) and gave a brief talk on how to take care of animals. She pointed out that like Winslow, Toffee, one of the alpacas present, had to be nursed back to health when she was injured at birth when her mother accidently stepped on her and broke her leg. She had to be bottle fed for a year. Mnich also related that newborn alpacas must be fed 1-2 ounces of milk every few hours for a few days and then quickly drink anywhere from 5-16 ounces several times a day after the first week of life. She also said that alpacas make really good grass cutters since they only have bottom teeth and hard gums and snip the top of the grass blade off instead of pulling it out of the ground. While she was speaking, she pointed out the humming noise that the alpacas were making to communicate with each other.
After the presentation, Mnich answered questions from the students and invited them to visit her farm. Started in 2012, the farm is located at 685 Hale St. and is open to the public weather permitting. Days, times and special events are listed on the farm’s Facebook page (Roaring Acres Alpacas). Currently there are about 600 animals, including donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens and 140 alpacas living on the farm.
In addition to reading the book, activities that tie in with the story and promote and enrich the reading experience will be shared with families on the Spaulding and McAlister websites. There will also be times set aside when students can read together at the farm. The Suffield Observer wishes happy reading to the Spaulding/McAlister community!