I recently wrote about my Fire Drill Failure but today I’m going to focus on Fire Drill Fixes. Every year there’s always one teacher frantically trying to get his or her students to behave or during a fire drill. Then there’s the entire class that was caught off guard and is crying hysterically. The bottom line is that fire drills can be confusing and even terrifying for young children and as educators we need to make sure our students are prepared for them.
The following are some simple things you can do to ensure a successful fire drill experience for your preschool or kindergarten students.
- Discuss: Have a monthly discussion about fire drills and why they are important.
- Read books about fire drills: There are several books written for this age group about fire drills. Often a story will help a child relate to the real life events of fire drills.
- Role Play: Act out appropriate and inappropriate fire drill behaviors. Hold “mock fire drills” in the classroom.
- Wear a brightly colored hat: When the hallways are crowded with small children and adults it’s difficult for little ones to follow you; a brightly colored hat will make you stand out from the crowd and prevent your students from getting lost. I have my eye on the cool monkey hats pictured below. You can also find cheap, colorful foam visors at your local craft store. Hang your hat on the wall next to your classroom door and grab it on your way out.
- Provide incentive: Anybody who has been a long-time visitor of my website or blog knows that I am dead set against extrinsic rewards. However, I do make an exception for fire drills. My favorite type of reward is a “smelly” because in addition to smelling great they are super cheap when compared to stickers or trinkets. Buy a package of scented lip balm at your local Dollar Store and after a successful fire drill have your students place one hand on their head, then rub a small circle of scented lip balm on the back of each student’s hand.
Image Source: Retro Toys