Group One has been exploring the topic of Firefighters and recently had the opportunity to welcome Firefighter Liz Curry from Fire Station 88.
Group One’s initial visit to Fire Station 109 led to many questions about firefighter uniforms. Upon returning to the classroom, the children completed an in-depth project, constructing moveable firefighters. Group One recreated the details of a uniform, revealing what they knew but also what they still needed to find out. More questions emerged as a result of this project and intensified their curiosity about the uniforms.
Does a firefighter need a new badge if they switch stations? What else is on the badge? Having Firefighter Liz available to answer these questions and being able to hold her badge to personally investigate was extremely exciting. The group learned that the badge has a phoenix on it and Liz shared about its significance – this was new information, even for Michelle!
In addition, Firefighter Liz shared her Urban Search and Rescue uniform and demonstrated how she uses a harness in this component of her job. Being aware of young children and their development, she facilitated an activity that involved movement, dramatic play, and the role playing of a rescue. The following week the group incorporated this knowledge into a new blockbuilding topic, “Rescue in the City.”
Westland students are exposed to the many resources available to them as they study the world around them and soon recognize the value of people as a primary resource. There is such richness in the people-to-people experience. Students have the opportunity to understand, in a more complex and meaningful way, the role, experience and feelings of someone else. Meeting Firefighter Liz furthered Group One’s appreciation for the role of a firefighter. Having space between meeting firefighters at Fire Station 109 and then meeting Firefighter Liz provided an element of reflection and continued investment in the information explored.
This visit also served as a culminating activity, resulting in a mutual and respectful exchange between Group One and Firefighter Liz. Just as Group One had such genuine interest in her job, she too honored their multiple discoveries through her sincere attention and appreciation for their work. It is in this way that Group One works through the beginning stages of research. This process will continue to evolve throughout their years at Westland.
“Children… need most of the same things adults need – consideration, respect for their work, the knowledge that they and the things they do are taken seriously.” – Caroline Pratt, I Learn From Children.
By: Michelle McCaffrey and Kailea Switzer