Hiking the Giraffe Path: P.S. 5 Promotes Active Lifestyle through Visual Art and Exercise

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Written by: Tamara M. Royal, Education Director, P.S. 5 Head Start

Have you ever seen a pink giraffe? Ever hiked uphill with infants, toddlers, grandparents, dads, a pregnant mom, teachers, social workers, education directors, administrative staff and the school cook too?  We did!

“Hike The Heights 7 was the culminating event in a series of artistic and healthy activities that comprise The Children’s Aid Society’s P.S. 5 Head Start Community Partnership Collaboration. This event, which brings families into the parks of Northern Manhattan for hiking, also doubles as an outdoor art exhibit displaying the children’s handmade giraffe sculptures! This experience gives the children and their families the opportunity to express and display their inner art while being more active. Instead of spending the day indoors as if we were caged in an urban jungle, we hiked in herds and had a wild time!

This year’s annual event was bigger, better and healthier than ever! After 6 years of hiking history, the P.S. 5 Head Start hosted a training and practice hike that included more than 100 additional children and their families. The first leg of the hike started at P.S. 5 near 200th street. Stroller-pushing parents and toddlers alike were motivated to keep trekking by their own public art installation along the way, also known as the giraffe path.

Why giraffes you wonder? Like the boot is to Italy, the trail connecting the parks of Northern Manhattan resembles the long legs and long neck of a giraffe. Giraffes, like children, remind us all of the unique vantage point in which they experience the world!