Recently I visited a lovely little pre-school to talk about being a paramedic. The children are aged between 3 and 5 years old. I really love this age group; they are so entertaining, that is if you can get past the fact that at any given time approximately a third of them will have a finger firmly inserted in to a nostril. Meanwhile another third are busy inspecting their harvest. All that remains is finding creative ways to avoid being touched by their sticky little fingers during the session!
Are you an umbrella?
I normally open with the question “Does anybody know what my job is?” One little cutie pushed his hand up high hoping to be picked to answer. After a little nervous stammering and stuttering, he eventually came out with the immortal line “Are you an umbrella?” Not wanting to crush his enthusiasm completely I politely replied “Well that’s a very good answer, but not the right one – any other ideas anyone?” In a different class I asked the same question and the first guess….. “Do you mend toilets?” Class!
The children are usually very keen to recall their experiences and brushes with hospitals and ambulances; usually by recounting embarrassing stories that their poor parents would rather weren’t retold! One little one told us about the birth of her baby sister: “She was born in an ambulance, she grew in my mummy’s tummy – my daddy put her there when they…” I stopped her at that point and asked if anyone else had ever been in an ambulance – “My daddy has got a wheel-barrow” pipes up one bright spark!
Thinking of conditions commonly affecting children, I asked one group “Does anyone here have asthma?” Every hand in the class shot up. I was surprised and glanced at the teacher. She shook her head, “No, none of them do.” Little liars!
Children enjoy getting stuck in to practical stuff so I usually get the liveliest person to allow me to demonstrate putting a bandage or sling on to them. Then I pair the others up and see if they can put them on each other. It’s hysterical; they get themselves in all sorts of interesting predicaments. One warning though: you do have to keep a close eye on them at this stage because it is surprising just how dangerous a sling can be in the hands of a four year old!