Recently, you’ve likely seen blog posts, videos or resources from Primrose related to emergency preparedness. That’s because, through October, we’re teaming up with our national partner Save the Children® to help families get better prepared for the unexpected through the Get Ready. Get Safe. initiative. Primrose children are also learning about emergency preparedness through our ongoing life skills curriculum and through the Explorers Club, our after-school program for children ages 5 through 12.
As part of the monthly curriculum, Primrose Explorers Club students will complete a Village Safety Project next month, which incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Explorers will be challenged to work in a team to create a community that they believe can withstand a chosen natural disaster, such as a tornado, landslide, flood, etc. Students will then use the engineering design process to build various levels of protection for their villages and will test out their design by simulating the natural disaster.
In addition to engaging students in emergency preparedness, the Village Safety Project also fosters 21st century skills, such as teamwork and creative problem solving, which lead to success in school and beyond.
Team-Building and Collaboration
Students will collaborate in small groups to plan, design and build a town that can withstand a natural disaster of their choice. They will learn to listen and respect others’ opinions and will practice making decisions together that will result in the best outcome. Nurturing teamwork and collaboration skills is a vital part of development.
Each student team will use books and Internet resources to research various natural disasters. Teachers will then guide students to the resources they need to develop an emergency plan for their town. In addition, students may also send letters to city planners and local emergency personnel to gather information and input.
Creative Problem Solving
Designing a town that can withstand an emergency requires creativity and problem solving skills. The children will need to ensure the town is structurally solid, while considering prevention measures, evacuation plans, and locations of community shelters. Teachers will challenge each small group with a variety of scenarios that they must solve collaboratively. For example, what will happen if the power is out and phone lines are down? How can they help the town connect with emergency contacts outside of the community? Students are required to continually re-examine their choices and use the engineering design process to revise their emergency plans as they uncover new data related to the natural disaster.
Empathy and Giving Back
Toward the end of the project, each small group will reflect on the emotional well-being of their community after the emergency. By putting themselves in others’ shoes, students will exercise empathy and learn the importance of giving back in the face of a disaster or tragedy. The groups also brainstorm the types of supplies and tools that may be needed to rebuild their community. Nurturing character skills in children early on is shown to be vital to their overall development, according to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
Communication and Presentation Skills
At the conclusion of the STEAM Village Safety Project, students will present their group’s findings to parents at a Share the Fun event, where students share what they learned and how they made their village even stronger in case of another emergency. By providing a supportive, safe forum for children to share their thoughts and findings, they become more comfortable speaking and communicating to an audience – another important skill for success in school and beyond.
While our Primrose Explorers are gearing up to build disaster-ready villages in the classroom, the fun doesn’t have to stop at school! You can create your own emergency preparedness projects at home. Don’t forget about our Get Ready. Get Safe. nine-week series! Click here to view the latest on making sure your family is prepared for the unexpected.