Lesson 4: If Your Clothes Catch on Fire- Stop, Drop, and Roll!
Years and years ago when we still lived in Vegas, I was attending College to get my degree in Preschool and Infants and Toddlers. One of the things we had to do was observe kids and preschools. One of the Preschools I observed was done by my Mothers friend. She introduced me to a Program she used called, Sesame Street Fire Safety Station. She told me that at least one child had their house catch fire and because of this program, the child not only survived, but helped save their family. It was enough for me to rush home and find this program and I have used it every time I teach Preschool (even in the Mom swap, Joy School).
Teaching and learning the Alphabet, Numbers, Science, Math, ect, is all good and great, but if I can teach a child how to save their life or someone elses, it will be of much greater worth. This is something we do with all of our children as well. When I was little, we were having problems with our Fire alarms always going off. My parents eventually taught us to just ignore it because it was happening a lot. One night my parents went for a walk while we were in bed. After some time they felt they needed to get back and check on the kids. When they got home the house was smoky and the fire alarms were going off, but all of us kids were in our beds ignoring them. This is a lesson that we insist with our kids. That means that when I was making dinner on a cold January night in Idaho, as soon as the fire alarms go off (because the boys were testing them for our basement project), we all run out, barefoot, in the snow. It is important to be cold and uncomfortable for a few minutes if it teaches them something that can save their life.
Preschoolers often get confused as to when they are supposed to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” Remind them that it is only if their clothes catch on fire and then practice, practice, practice. Cut out paper or felt flames and attach tape to the back of each flame. You have to be careful to not make it a game, but not make it too scary as well. The first time I did it, I explained that when we run the flames get bigger and the kids thought it was fun. This year the kids understood better that when I put on a new flame it means that you are getting hurt.
We usually sit around in a circle and I have one child come up at a time. I give them a scenario that involves them. Such as, You were roasting marshmallows outside and got to close to the fire while you were watching and OH! (stick on the fire) you caught on fire. (The first time they come up I also add in that they got scared and started running and put more fire on them) What should you do? Then all the kids shout, “STOP, DROP, and ROLL!!” Then they do it and I help them with the rolling. Most of the time they roll gently on their back so we teach to roll more vigorously.
Sometimes the flames come off on their own and other times I grab them off in the middle of them rolling to show that rolling gets the fire off of you. We also teach that if you see someone else catch on fire, to shout “Stop. Drop. and Roll.” and throw a blanket on if there is one available.