Community Helpers is a very broad topic and is easily brought to life by whatever resources you have available to you through your parents or your local community connections. I generally stick to the emergency services as I think its very important for the children to know what to do in an emergency.
We look at a different emergency service each week for a month. As I don’t concentrate on just one service, I generally make an emergency call centre. The call operators take the emergency call and then the relevant emergency services are dispatched to help. Its a very noisy roleplay with lots of shouting – ‘HELP! FIRE! HELP!’ and lots of siren noises zooming around the classroom.
I sourced the uniforms/costumes in Dunnes Stores some time ago, but the doctors costume is just a child’s white shirt with a red cross drawn on with permanent marker!
As I said earlier, we focus on the work of one branch of our emergency services each week and try to get them to visit us. They are easy to organise and, in my experience, have always been extremely accommodating. Contact your local base/station and ask about arranging a school visit!
The ambulance is very exciting and there are some basic procedures that the paramedics demonstrate for the children such as wearing a collar, getting a sling, having your pulse taken and even getting a read of your heart trace from an ECG machine!
The children’s eyes light up with they see the big red fire engine outside school! The firemen burst into our classroom in full gear looking for the fire only to realise it was a false alarm! There was lots of fun had playing with the hoses, trying on the firemen’s hat (they are sooo heavy!) and turning on the lights and sirens!
An emergency service which cant come to us is the lifeboat so each year we take a trip to our local lifeboat station. It is a trip I wouldn’t miss! It is absolutely fantastic and the children get full access to all the boats and equipment. The children go home with pencils and colouring books too! We do a small collection in the class and make a donation to the RNLI (the Irish Lifeboat service) as they do so much for the people in our waters, and all voluntarily.