The old adage of a person not being too old to learn can be tweaked to read that a person is also not too young to learn. In this case, we’re referring to a set of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed preschoolers.

Their fragile minds are as absorbent as sponges hence their appetite for knowledge could be as wide and unsuspecting. This can be seen on a daily basis as they move swiftly about school compounds.

One such community school is the Dr. Rosa Lee Academy of Excellence located on Amy Byers Street within the confines of the Villa community.

As part of the school’s disaster preparedness planning, an earthquake preparedness and response lesson was conducted by STEPS (Safety Through Education Prevention and Strategy) to ensure that students and staff were prepared for any eventuality.

The glow in their eyes as the facilitator was cordially introduced was enough to set the stage for learning to take place. After taking them through some humourous moments to “break the ice” all went smoothly.

As much as, at their tender ages, their ABCs are vital to their development, they were taught about doing the D-C-H, an internationally recognised concept used to protect persons in the event of an earthquake.

D – Drop where you are on your hands and knees.

C – Cover your head and neck with one arm or hand or get under a sturdy desk.

H – Hold-On to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.

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After practising this drill with much excitement, they were asked to orderly leave the classroom and head to their pre-designated Assembly Area, as they would have done had it been an actual earthquake. We checked that all students were accounted for and that there were no injuries.

Strutting to the music of their pre-rehearsed “Choo Choo Train” jingle, they made their way outside in an orderly fashion – a significant accomplishment for such tiny tots whose attention span can be so limited at times.

The Principal of the early childhood education facility, Mrs. Andrea Weekes in her assessment of the proceedings, was delighted at the level of interaction and energy presented and welcomed the safety pointers given to staff.

In a testament to the fact that learning did take place, Mrs. Weekes stated that “I sat in my office and the first thing a student told his mother when she collected him was, mummy when there is an earthquake the place will shake and you have to go under the table to be safe.”

The facilitator and Director of the STEPS Safety Awareness Program, Mr. Anderson Tuitt stated how pleased he was by the active participation of the preschoolers and their teachers and the high level of interest shown in emergency preparedness.

Added to that, Mr. Tuitt said it was quite obvious that the session was not a one-off moment but rather one of continuous efforts ensuring that students and teachers know what to do in the event of an emergency and for this, they should definitely be commended.

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