BETHALTO — Mark your calendars for March 10, when the Bethalto School District’s Smile and Move event will be held at Civic Memorial High School.
“It’s the first annual community event that we’re having in Bethalto,” said Maria Roach, Title I teacher at Wilbur Trimpe Middle School. “In the past, each school has had their own literacy night, or family night, and we decided to do a whole community event at the high school.”
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with attendees first being treated to a free dinner featuring chicken Parmesan, salad, green beans and appetizers.
The event also will feature activities, entertainment and prizes. Teachers from various departments will provide opportunities for those in attendance to participate in a number of projects. Children will have the chance to learn how to build wooden airplanes, make snacks, and participate in science-related activities. An obstacle course and bounce house round out the fun.
“The middle school and the high school’s science teachers are planning an activity to do with the kids,” Roach said. “I think they’re going to make slime.”
Children will receive an age-appropriate free book. The district was able to procure enough books through Scholastic books. Everyone who attends will be registered at the door for attendance prizes donated by businesses, which will be given out throughout the evening.
Therapy dogs, provided by Patti Gibb, will be special guests. Children will be able to spend time with the dogs, pet them, and even read to them. Roach has included the therapy dogs at one of Wilbur Trimpe Middle School’s literacy night events in the past.
“The dogs come in, and the kids sit down, and they read to the dogs,” she said. “I was so amazed at how popular that station (with the therapy dogs) was.”
Sis from the Bethalto Library will be at the event to tell tales to those in attendance. A magician will also be there, and informational booths will be set up, including one from The Nature Institute in Godfrey.
In addition to fellowship and fun, the event is meant to educate and bring about awareness of local resources, including the SIU Dental Program, Madison County Transit, and the Madison County Health Department.
“We hope to achieve creating awareness of resources,” Roach said. “Social workers are also getting together, and they’re putting on three to four sessions about bullying, including cyberbullying.”
Free transportation will be provided to anyone in Bethalto who may have difficulty attending.
Dr. Jill Griffin, assistant superintendent and Title I coordinator, along with four Title I teachers, are responsible for putting together the event. In addition to Maria Roach of Wilbur Trimpe Middle School, Amber Newell of Bethalto East Primary School, Jamie Orvan of Parkside Primary School and Kelly Shortal of Meadowbrook Intermediate School are behind the event.
“With Jill, and the Title I teachers within the district, it’s always been our task to coordinate and plan these literacy and outreach events,” Roach said. “We’ve done our individual ones, so Dr. Griffin suggested we do a community event and include all of the schools.
“It’s the school district’s attempt, and hope, to bring everybody together, and to educate the community.”
Free transportation is available. For information, call (618) 377-7200.