THIS WON’T HURT A BIT (David Quesada)
This month is “Community Helper Month” at Saddleback College’s Child Development center where children will be visited by a variety of professionals who teach the preschool students lessons using a variety of methods-such as teddy bears to teach basic health care.
Throughout the month, nurses, camp rangers, dentists, and firefighters will visit the children in the center. The visitors are seen as community role models for the young students, who are the children of faculty, students and community residents.
“We have to met a certain curriculum” saidWes Thomas, Sr. Child Development Specialist at the center. “Part of our curriculum requires us to bring in people of different career fields and it offers us the opportunity to expose the children to people outside their normal day-to-day life and learn about the tools of their trade.”
On Feb. 8, Saddleback nursing students came to teach the children all about a simple visit to the doctor’s office.
The tools used by the nurses to simplify the learning process for the three and four-year olds were teddy bears. The hour-long clinic included demonstrations on how to bandage up the bear’s knee and even listening to a heartbeat with a stethoscope.
“A lot of children have immediate concerns and issues that they would like to know the answers to,” Thomas said. “The teddy bear offers them a fascination, and they are able to look at the bear in different way. It’s a good developmental process for the kids.”
Armed with the teddy bears, the nurses also went over with the children how to measure one’s height and weight.With all the measurements, the nurses used numbers in a way the children could easily understand.
Counting and using round numbers accomplished this. This also helped with their developing math and counting skills. “This is a good program as well for the nurses because it offers them the opportunity to get to talk about what they are learning” Thomas said. “It helps the nurses learning process as well.”
At the end of the program, the children made Valentines for their parents and walked them to the post office across the street where they stamped and mailed them. “They got to see the whole process of sending a letter off which was exciting for them,” Thomas said.
Upcoming visitors will include firefighters and park rangers. The development center is also working on having the campus police visit the children.