Recently, a trauma nurse from a local hospital came and talked with the children about water safety, bike safety, and the importance wearing helmets. The nurse shared a short presentation and many children actively participated by asking and answering questions. At the end of the presentation, each child was fitted for a new bike helmet.
An important aspect of building the learning community is inviting outside community helpers to share their story with the children. Through these visits children learn about people of different backgrounds and how they contribute to the community. These visits invite children to think about how they can contribute to the community, help others, and make a contribution to the greater good.
This was only one example of the many community helpers who visit schools and afterschool programs each year. Annually there are visits from police, fire, and other safety professionals. Many of the visits are for safety reasons, teaching children about drills and skills that help keep them secure during the school day. What other important community helpers visit schools on a regular basis?
Visits to schools and afterschool are often from folks who contribute to the school community and enhance the learning experience. The most frequent community helpers in the schools are parents, who volunteer weekly and throughout the year, helping in the classroom and with numerous school events to create rich experiences for the learning community.
After school programs, often have community members visit with different creative skills, from puppeteers, magicians, animal experts, artists, musicians and more. These community helpers not only entertain but also inspire children to pursue new interests and give children the confidence to try and learn a new skill. Often after a creative community member visits the children are keen to explore the type of work they have witnessed and projects are created with these new interests in mind.
The children express their appreciation for the skill it takes to be a fireman, nurse, artist, musician, or policeman. They see acquiring this type of skill as exciting and inviting and it motivates them to expand their work individually and as a member of the community. I see children help each other more often and show increased compassion for others, and stand up for the rights of others more often. We are very thankful to have these community helpers come to our school and help grow the possibilities of the learning community and look forward to more visits during this coming year.