Emergency Lesson for Preschoolers and Their Student Teachers
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Monday morning students were returning back to school for the first time since spring break. Classes were picking up as normal and work was continuing to be done. Second block, however, there was an unexpected change in the organization of the day. A “lock and teach” was enacted, which transitioned swiftly into a” full lock down”. Students and staff were both shocked, but one class had to conceal their distress and instead make it look like everything was a planned activity. That class was the Child Development II class, who were teaching preschoolers.
The preschool students were completely unaware of the situation going on around them, being preoccupied in the clothing and fashion room along with family and consumer science teacher Megan Lacy’s class.
“We told the preschool children that we were playing the ‘Quiet Game’ and we had them draw, play computer games and gave them snacks,” said Denise Winslow, the child development teacher.
The preschoolers remained calm throughout the whole situation due to the demeanor of the students around them.
“The kids’ didn’t really understand what was going on, so they just thought that we were doing a different type of school lesson,” junior Sydney Brogdon said.
The preschoolers were taken into consideration by the district during the evacuation process because no police entered the classroom. Instead, Frederick Bouchard, executive director of support services and athletics for the school district, came down and escorted the preschoolers and Child Development II class to a separate bus, not requiring the hands-over-head protocol the rest of the school went through.
“The preschoolers were excited to be riding on a bus and taking a field trip to Staley and my students remained calm and were excellent with the kids,” Winslow said. “If we had shown that we were upset by the situation, then the children would have felt it and possibly been upset. My students did an excellent job in remaining calm even though I know they felt anxious like we all did.”
Winslow created immediate contact with parents and maintained it through the whole incident, informing them on any updates. When they got to Staley they met with visibly upset parents and the daycare provider.
“When we got to the front door of Staley the parents hugged their kids, they finished paperwork to release the kids and then they took them home immediately,” Winslow said. “I have received emails from parents who commended me and my students for helping with the situation and said their children thought it was just a different kind of preschool day and were unaffected by the incident.”
Students in the Child Development II class did its best to look out for the preschoolers first and even learned something from the events.
“I just want to say how proud I am of the rest of my class and how they were able to really think of the kids above themselves,” Brogdon said. “Multiple of the other students told me how they were more worried about the little kids than they were themselves. Even though what happened Monday sucked, it was still a good learning experience for me, and probably the others because we had to learn how to keep calm for the kids.”
Winslow was also impressed with her class and the preschoolers.
“If it were not for my students’ calming demeanor and their care for the students, then I feel this might have not [have gone] as smooth as it did and the preschoolers were truly the heroes because they were great throughout the entire process.”