Curriculum overhauled at Children's Village

August 28, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

The police/safety curriculum taught to second-graders since Children's Village of Washington County opened in 1991 has been overhauled.

"We decided it was high time we reworked that part of the educational program here," said Allen Swope, president and member of the education committee at Children's Village.

Swope has been meeting with Russell Boback, a ranger with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and educator Patricia Leonard, who chairs the education committee at Children's Village.

Together they have drawn upon the expertise of Mike Weller, fire safety educator with the Hagerstown Fire Department, who played a major role in creating the fire/safety classes at Children's Village.


"I would describe the current police curriculum as adequate, but we have all been doing our own thing over the years," Boback said. "Plus, kids have changed and so has society and the classes needed to reflect that."

Helping make the changes have been Jim Holsinger, Mike Moats, Charles Stanford and Russ Plante, area police officers who are active at Children's Village.

The result of the committee's work is a 17-page teaching guide that is more interactive, more hands-on and more engaging for young children, Leonard said.

All will be ready when the first group of second-graders come through the doors Sept. 2, according to Rochelle Morrell, director for development at Children's Village.

Several components have been added to the new curriculum, Swope said. Farm, outdoor and water safety get more classroom time and more visual aids are being used.

"We also updated safe play and firearm safety," Boback said.

He stressed the children are taught what to do if they see or encounter a firearm - not to touch the weapon, get away from it and find an adult.

Boback said the stranger-danger training now teaches children to be alert and aware, but not afraid of everyone they meet.

Children's Village is a not-for-profit safety education organization with the mission of providing elementary school children of Washington County with the safety skills necessary to make informed decisions.

Classes also are provided for children taught in private and church schools as well as those taught at home. Children from outside the county can attend the classes on a fee basis.

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