A Open Letter to All Families with Children in Early Childhood Programs
The safety of your children, families, and the staff are always at the forefront of my thoughts. To ensure that staff and children know what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency, we practice safety drills. We do our very best to ensure that the children are aware of their seriousness, without making them frightening. Every class will experience four different drills.
1) Lock Down Drill: This drill simulates the need for children and teachers to lock themselves into a classroom. This includes everyone waiting in a safe place in the classroom until instructed to move. No one is permitted to enter the school as long as we are locked down. Classroom doors are locked from the inside, and teachers are instructed to not open doors until hearing a code word.
2) Lock In Drill: This drill simulates the need for teachers and children to remain in the school. The inside routine is conducted as it normally would, with the exception that the children are not permitted to go outside until the lock-in is completed. Lock-ins occur when there is a suspected or actual threat in the community.
3) Fire Drill: We call these "safety walks." While we practice evacuating the children one time per month without sounding an alarm, we always practice with the actual alarm in the fall and the spring. This helps children know what to do if it should sound in a real emergency. Our alarm is loud; there are strobe lights. This can be startling to children. Because of this, we always tell the children when we are going to sound it so they are prepared. I will let you know ahead of time as well, in case you would like to remain in the school with your child and accompany him or her outside. (We usually do the drill shortly after drop off.)
4) Extreme Weather Drill: During this drill we move to the space between our two classrooms in the most easterly side of our building, such as the washrooms. We remain in this space until given the "all clear."
As an educator and mother, I wish we did not have to think about these things or conduct these drills—especially the first two. However, I always feel much more reassured after they are complete because I know we are prepared should we need to be.