Rolph Road School student Lachlan Ioannou stands with a serious expression, holding out his fire escape plan for his family home.
The 4-year-old’s face is taut, blues eyes scanning the arrows he had drawn directing him to the front door of his home. Teacher Diane Brown had given students pages to draw their routes.
“I go from here to the front door, and then this,” he was saying on the morning of Oct. 8, his small fingers tracing the lines he had drawn.
“If there’s a fire downstairs and I can wait at the window for the fire fighter.”
Two of his classmates also shared their drawings.
Nate Fleming was an inferno of delight as he shared his thoughts on how important fire safety is to him. “Important,” he said,
flashing a toothy grin.
Hudson Pearce, 5, agreed, as he showed his map.
Lachlan, Nate and Hudson were three of 18 youngsters who listened attentively — albeit with distractions from the crinkling of red, plastic fire helmets given to them by their teachers — to the words of Carol-Lynn Chambers, manager of Public Fire Safety
Their hands waved in the air, as they looked to answer her questions on what to do when there is a grease fire on the stove.
For a brief moment, Brown had to interrupt the lesson as the cacophony of rustling helmets upstaged the fire-safety guru.
Still, Chambers was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the students, she said after her 30-minute question-and-answer session.
“This is a really critical age group because they’re in an environment in schools (where) they take this home to their parents, and their families,” she said. “They know what to do and they’re excited about it.”
The best part of all is they are absorbent, and everything learned will stay with them, Chambers said.
“This age group is great because they are starting to learn when they’re young, when they can help their parents,” she said. “That carries them through life.”
The class had prepared for the visit for two weeks, and the impetus for the visit was Brown’s filling out of a form through Scholastic Books.
“We do query learning — play-based learning,” Brown said, adding the students have made a list of how to follow safety rules.
Their efforts included writing poetry.
Aside from the red helmets donned by all the 4- and 5-year-olds, the lesson shared by Chambers was declared most important, which helped place emphasis on what Lachlan knew already.
“I learned something when I went to the fire station: Don’t stick a knife into the toaster because you might get zapped,” he said.