Thursday, October 22, 2009

Station #6

This year we are doing a grand experiment in extracurricular activities. Since, in my opinion, home-life is the best curriculum for a young child, any activity outside the home counts as extracurricular. In the past we have done almost nothing aside from Sunday morning church activities, save a few swimming lessons, but this year we're doing swimming, hoping to start ballet after the holidays, and *gasp* preschool. And we added a newborn to the mix. I'll tell you when we start to feel over-scheduled, but for now it is all fun and games.

Preschool was a hard decision for us. We are still leaning towards homeschooling for kindergarten next year, so I questioned if going to preschool would set a bad precedent. Also, making preschool work is difficult when you are a one car and one income family. After much prayer and discussion, we decided that we would try to get Eva into a preschool. She wanted it sooooo bad... just to do anything "special" and outside the home. I compared the pros and cons of several options, but then a completely unique option came on the horizon. As it turns out, we have chosen to join a "preschool co-op." We meet two mornings a week, the fee was $10, and the moms take turns teaching. Two moms (with apparently lots of free time... ha ha) lead the charge and have taken the time to establish a very detailed and fun curriculum for the year so we always know what to teach and what our kids should be learning. The curriculum includes lots of typical preschool stuff: calendar, weather, play time, snack, reading, art, character traits, and more. So far, Eva is really enjoying the time, and I have had a lot of fun teaching as well!

Back to "Station #6".... today was our first preschool field trip, and we went to a fire station. I thought it was super cool and really enjoyed learning about a fire fighter's job, as well as seeing everything up close. Truthfully, Eva was disappointed because it wasn't like the Curious George book in which he visits a fire station (Naughty Curious George always has more fun as he wreaks havoc wherever he goes!), but I think she still learned a lot and had fun. So, Station #6 is the busiest station in Minneapolis, and the 15th busiest in the nation. There were six different crews on while we were there, and it was thrilling (and a little scary) to see the firefighters race to the trucks whenever a call came in. We got to see plenty of action! The firefighters who gave us our tour actually had to leave part-way through and passed us off to another crew to finish the tour. I'll mix a few fun facts about fire fighting in with the pictures: This dude is a firefighter in full uniform. He is wearing protective pants, coat, boots, gloves, mask, and helmet. He also sports an oxygen tank and axe. All of this weighs about 60 pounds! He looked a little scary to the little ones in his attire, and boy was he sweaty when he disrobed! The oxygen tank will last him 30 minutes, at best, so it is important to move quickly.
Hope is sitting in the driver's seat of a small firetruck. We looked at lots of different kinds of trucks, but our tour guide only let us get in "his" truck. This truck is primarily for medical emergencies. This crew (EMTs) respond to the most serious health related 911 calls. They have an impressive response time of about 3 minutes or less, compared to the ambulance which averages at least 7 minutes.
Here, Eva poses as a firefighter. Becoming a professional firefighter is a pretty big achievement. There is a training school to attend, testing that is extremely physically difficult, and then you basically have to win the lottery! For every open position in Minneapolis, there are 2,400 applicants. I have a friend from high school that works at Station #6, so apparently he was one of the lucky winners! The schedule seems pretty peachy, they work ten 24-hour shifts each month. They eat, sleep (in their own private bedroom), play, exercise, and work during a shift.Here are the girls sitting on the big front bumper of the truck. There is room for lots of people to climb on a firetruck, but when it's time for a call, the firefighters are all safely buckled in to regular seats in the cab. Were you wondering where the dalmation Fire Dog is in all these pictures? Station pets were outlawed about 20 years ago in order to allow for firefighters with pet allergies :(.Here are all the kids, along with two firefighters who very kindly showed us around, answered our questions, and instructed the little ones on fire safety. They even requested a special "test" alarm to be rung, welcoming us to the fire station. Not everyone was able to make it today, but (L-R) Eva, Hope, Nina, Elijah, Kara, Zoe, Madelyn, Katelyn, and Rina partook in the festivities. Way fun!


Jessica said...

how fun! thanks for sharing these Becca!

Alicia O. & the gang said...

Oh Fun! My dad is a MPLS Firefighter (captain) and has worked at station #6 before! So fun to hear your account of all the facts...I know thenm well!