Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Firemen, Sirens, Blinking lights OH MY!

January 11th marks the first, and second, fire drill in MM history. For most of our kiddos, it was their first fire-drill; they could not believe they were not only allowed, but rushed, outside in their INDOOR shoes. It is January outside people! Because we got the word that is was just a drill, we did actually get our jackets...though with an increased sense of urgency, mostly because of the noise-level in the hallways. 
Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

We rushed the class and ABA-ers outside into the park and tried not to show any signs of distress. It is not that there was any real threat of danger, we had heard through the grape vine that the alarm had been set off by accident by a contractor, but the sheer sound of the alarm bell echoing through the halls of our temporary set-up was enough to drive us, and our kids, a little nutty. 

I should probably explain, that for the next 3 days our school is invaded by contractors, so our gracious landlords have provided us with an open-concept luxury space to teach in, for the time being. The space itself is....basically a giant ballroom (complete with solid wood dance floor) is divided into small classroom areas; we call it our OPEN CONCEPT...REALLLLLY OPEN CONCEPT...temporary learning environment. It is pretty much brutal in terms of distraction, acoustics, and new stimuli to focus on, but it also provides a good chance to help coach our kids through newness, lack of routine and an interruption of schedule; a sort of exposure-therapy if you will. The bathroom are a good deal nicer than the ones we are used to and it was hilarious when one of the little boys exclaimed WOW I LIKE THIS BATHROOM as his eyes lit up. Anyway, I digress because all of our kids have actually coped super well

We got all of our kids outside, grabbed the necessary tools (a pair of noise-block headphones, our jackets and some tissue..all might I add, things we would not double-back for it was a real emergency) and started an early recess. All of us, every single staff member, was outside in the playground...that pretty much NEVER happens.

Eventually, about 30 minutes later, and after the arrival of not one but TWO woo-woos  fire trucks (sorry I get used to talking in child-speak) we got the go-ahead to return to the building. But, not before we had a nice long look at the fire trucks.... and firefighters! We LOVE firefighters at MM for many reasons...of course there is the obvious fact that they rescue people and put out fires, but we also think it is really neat that they  wear headphones like many of our friends do. 

As the afternoon went on, the alarm sounded again. I am sure we all thought the exact same thing ...are you flippin kidding me....But there was no kidding insight; it was another alarm going off and I was in a 1:1 with a client that needed some noise-blocking headphones like... yesterday. My dilemma was... I was in a room that was fairly sound-blocked; I could hear the alarm, but it was not echoing or bouncing off the walls like it does in the hallway. The headphones were at the other end of the building in class and between us was an atrium, in which the alarm literally reverberated up and down the halls like nails on a chalk board. It MUST be the acoustics of the building. The only way to sound protection was a very noisy journey....

So together we decided to make a run for it, hand in hand, while I lead walking briskly to prevent sensory overload in both of worked. We stayed calm, and we actually made it through. The alarm turned off before we even made it to our headphones, and we decided we had probably earned a snack break! Crisis averted! 

The Gathering Place! Check out our new sign; special thanks to our incredible graphic designer, and friend, Real! Links to come to his portfolio and how you can contact him for your own graphic design needs!

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