There are fairies among us!

4 Jan

Bet you didn’t know … the field behind State Rd. Elementary School is home to more than two dozen fairies.  

It’s true! They live in 26 miniature fairy houses installed along a more than 3/4-mile path that begins near the school’s back door and stretches all along the wooded area that rings the rear of the property. And to be clear, we THINK fairies live in the houses, because no one’s ever seen them. But lots of folks — families and students — still walk the path regularly in hopes of catching a glimpse of the secretive sprites.

The idea to make the fairy trail came from State Rd. kindergarten teacher Jacquie Smith, who for the last eight years has created a very magical “Fairy Day” for her students. It’s part of an entire fairytale unit, and Smith finds ways to work in science, literacy, mathematics, art, even music. Then on one very special day, she transforms her kindergarten classroom into a magical wonderland, complete with twinkly lights, fairy jars, fairy dust, fairy music, fairy wands and fairy stories.

Smith would also take her students to Tinker Nature Park every year to hike the park’s fairy trail and complete a scavenger hunt. It was a highlight for students and parents alike, so when the park’s staff decided to remove the houses in March 2019, everyone was upset.  

That’s when Smith came up with the idea to make their own fairy trail, using the alphabet trail that already existed behind the school. The trail already had 26 lettered posts; all they needed were fairy houses. 

With full support from the administration, Smith got to work. First, an amazing parent, Brian Roode, built 26 creative and whimsical fairy houses. Then on one extra special day, during the lunch hours, every student in the school had a chance to help decorate the houses by painting them or adding decorations. 

The houses were installed on the posts in June 2019, and Smith organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new fairy trail. It was a big deal. Former WCSD Superintendent Carm Gumina even donned a pair of fairy wings for the event. Still, Smith wasn’t sure anyone aside from the other kindergarten classes would come.    

“I offered it to the whole school as an optional activity,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw too much more on their plate at the end of the year.” So she was rather surprised when, at the appointed time, every single class came out to watch the ceremony.

It was “the most overwhelming thing,” she remembered.

Two and a half years later, the State Rd. Elementary School Fairy Trail is still there, although a few of the posts need occasional repair due to wind and heavy rains. It’s still an enchanted place, especially for all the innocent new kindergarteners who walk through the school’s front doors every September.

“I love teaching kindergarten because of the magic in here,” Smith said. “They bring the magic into the classroom. They believe and it makes everything else go away.”

One story in particular is a perfect illustration.

“I had one student come in the day after they took their fairy gardens home, and he looked absolutely exhausted,” she said. “He said, ‘Mrs. Smith, I stayed up watching my fairy garden outside to see if there was a fairy.’ And he starts crying. ‘I tried to watch all night and the fairy never came.'”

“I asked him, Buddy, you know the magic of fairies. Did you ever see the tooth fairy? No? That’s because they only come when we’re away or asleep and they leave us hints of magic. So you need to go home and see if you find any hints of the magic.”

When the little boy returned to school the next day, he looked much more rested and cheerful. He reported that he’d found a small speckled stone by the fairy garden. He was convinced it was a hint of magic.

Like that little boy, we should all look for those hints of magic in our lives every day.

Here are photos of a few more of the fairy houses on the trail:

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One Response to “There are fairies among us!”

  1. Mary Alice Moore January 4, 2022 at 6:42 am #

    Great article highlighting the creativity of one of the special teachers and projects happening in our Webster schools.

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