Dina and Wally Teach About Staying Safe
By Patti Meyer-Lee, MS. Ed., IY Certified Group Leader
At Gateway-Longview Therapeutic Preschool in Bowmansville, New York, our teachers use the Dinosaur School Curriculum as part of the school’s Safety Theme. The objective is for students to understand that teachers will keep them safe at school.
When the lesson is presented Dina Dinosaur talks about being calm and safe. She models calm, safe behavior with deep breaths and a Raggedy Ann body (curriculum cue cards for Wally taking deep breaths and showing a relaxed body are shown). Children practice these calm down skills with Dina.
Next Dina calmly explains that when children get of control and are not safe, the teacher and Dina will keep them safe. They model what will be happen if this occurs and start by reassuring the children that Wally is only pretending to be out of control/unsafe. Wally demonstrates how to go to the calm down chair to take deep breaths and cool down into blue on the calm down thermometer. After Wally does this the teacher and Dina ask Wally how he is feeling. Wally talks about how his breathing exercise is helping him. The children are also given turns to ask Wally how he feels and tell him how they try to stay calm.
During the practice part of the lesson the teachers take photos of the children practicing safety as they work and play in the classroom. Later the children make a collage of their photos entitled “SAFE PLAY.” Throughout the day children are reinforced for episodes when they practice safe behavior. Parents are encouraged to attend these dinosaur lessons and to use a similar approach at home.