A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 29, to celebrate the opening of the first Basics Learning Trail in Pennsylvania, located right here in Lebanon County.

The event, which starts at 10 a.m., will take place at the trail inside Cleona Community Park, 251 S. Garfield St.

The Basics Learning Trail is a collaboration between the Community Health Council of Lebanon County (CHC), Lebanon Family Health Services, Domestic Violence Intervention (DVI), United Way, Lebanon Valley College, and the borough parks and recreation board.

The trail leads families through five interactive learning stations, each focusing on one of the Basics Principles, which are five science-based caregiving tenets of early childhood brain development. The principles are: 1) Maximize love, manage stress; 2) Talk, sing, and point; 3) Count, group, and compare; 4) Explore through movement and play; and 5) Read and discuss stories.

“The Basics Learning Trail is similar to a Born Learning Trail, but the biggest difference is that our trail has been entirely designed and installed by students at Lebanon Valley College,” said Mike Ritter, DVI deputy director and one of the trail’s coordinators, in a press release. “We are proud that so many people came together to make this happen.”

The Basics Principles aim to equalize opportunities for brain development during early childhood, building not only cognitive skills but also social-emotional learning skills. SEL helps reduce risky behaviors and improve mental health by enhancing the many social and emotional strengths that children already possess.

“Mental wellbeing is such a pressing topic right now,” CHC executive director Nikki Maurer Gray said in a press release. “So we’re all in on providing families opportunities to connect with each other and connect with the outdoors to promote wellbeing.”

The Basics Learning Trail is a part of The Basics Learning Network, an international community of organizations focused on learning, innovating, and continuously improving methods of spreading The Basics Principles. The signs at the trail are available in both English and Spanish (PDFs).

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Do you want to see more from LebTown?

Support local news. Cancel anytime.

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Kindly keep your comments brief and respectful. We will remove comments that do not abide by these simple rules.