As you all know, we practice for scenarios we trust will never occur such as fire drills. These we have at least once/month. The students and staff do a great job exiting building quickly, quietly, and safely. We talk to the children (in age appropriate ways) about the drills and the importance of practicing in case there really was an emergency. We explain that for drills or during an actual incident we don't need to be scared because we know exactly what to do and have practiced.
This is the same language we will use when introducing our upcoming lockdown drill scheduled for November 19. We will introduce the need for a lockdown in case someone is in our building who shouldn't be inside our school. This could potentially lead to the children mentioning aliens, monsters, and even the potential for someone with a sword and a shield. Although we will discuss the unlikelihood of such events (some more so than others), we also will stress the importance of practicing so we would know what to do in such an emergency.
As the upcoming drill is the first of this type for this year, we want to let you know what this looks like and what we will be discussing in case these conversations start filtering home.
During a lockdown drill a teacher closes the door (already locked), turns off the lights, closes the blinds and the entire class goes into a corner to hide quietly. Although these are the official steps to our school drills, these steps were also be chosen by the older students through guided conversations led by the teacher. For example, "What's the first thing that we should do if we want to keep someone out of our room?" To which the children invariably answer, "Lock the door!"
We believe strongly in being prepared, but this does not mean that it needs to be a scary process for the children. By involving them in the process, hosting open conversations with them, and practicing, we are able to create an environment where the children feel both comfortable and empowered to know how to act quickly in case of an emergency.