Themed Approach to Learning: Firefighter and Police Officer Visits
The first few years of a child’s life play a crucial role in long-term life success. It is during this time that children discover how to learn and interact with others and their surroundings. At Zein, we believe children learn best through their own curiosity and discovery, so we focus on ensuring we create an environment rich in diverse learning opportunities that support their development.
Learning to learn
Our teachers know that children learn in different ways. To support successful, positive learning, we use different teaching methods and techniques – from storytelling to demonstration; role-playing to question and answer; visual aids to self-discovery methods.
Bringing different learning experiences, methods, and subjects together around a unifying theme forms one of the cornerstones of Zein’s approach to Early Childhood care and development. Jamilla Koch, Day Care Manager of the Willows, explains what a themed approach looks like in reality.
‘’We find it important that our quarterly themes relate to the world around us and emphasize a sense of community and interdependence. For example, the monthly theme of May was ‘My Community Helpers’, which included a week-long subtheme ‘People Who Protect Us’.
During this week, the activities aimed at stimulating the different areas of development related to police officers and firefighters. The children enjoyed circle time reading and discussion about what police officers and firefighters do for us, they identified the shapes found on a police car, counted how many police officers they could see in our book, made a square shape out of playdough to build a fire truck ladder, played with police cars and fire trucks in the construction zone.
As part of the programme, the children also received special visits from a police officer and firefighter.
Happy relaxed children who understand what is going on are more able to benefit and learn from the experience. To reduce potential stress, the teachers started preparing the children by talking with them about how the visit would go, practicing the sound of the siren, and making their own police officer and fire brigade hats.
Come to the visits themselves, even children and parents of children who did not normally attend that day turned out to welcome the police officer and firefighter. The excitement was clearly visible on the faces of the children as they were each given the opportunity to see and touch the equipment of the police officer and firefighter. The best part of the afternoon was how excited the children were to meet the firefighter and police officer, and watching each of them bravely climbing into the car and exploring the inside!’’
Growing up together
Children benefit greatly from interacting directly with their world. Our early years programme aims to provide many opportunities for active participation, whilst creating an environment that accepts and acknowledges individual differences in their development. The themed approach connects the different areas of development and skills, whilst allowing children of different abilities and preferred learning styles to enjoy learning together.