Polytechnic School: Medical Professionals Volunteer Time for Kinder Teddy Bear Clinic
Kindergartners recently brought stuffed animals to school and met with various medical professionals from the Poly community to help “treat” their stuffed animals during the annual Kinder Teddy Bear Clinic. The purpose of the event is to help relieve children’s anxiety around medical professionals. “It is such a wonderful opportunity for parents to come in and share what they do,” said Hallie Rosenblum, kindergarten teacher. “Students learn that there are so many different types of doctors. It is very powerful for them to see that doctors are a part of our community.”
Poly’s director of health services Marcy Kwitny and current parents who are medical professionals graciously donated their time and expertise as they helped assess and treat many teddy bears and other assorted stuffed creatures, including a camel, owl, and even an armadillo. The medical staff on hand for the day included Dr. Jocelyn Dee, infectious disease specialist; Dr. Melissa Tyson, veterinarian; Melissa Doyle, nurse practitioner; Dr. Shahin Chandrasoma, urologist; Dr. Brooke Chandrasoma, pulmonologist; Dr. Karen Kim, internal medicine; Dr. Chess Stetson, brain research; and Dr. Dan Cunningham, psychologist.
The event is a favorite in the kinder classes: Students reflected after the activity, saying “Doctors could bandage my stuffy” and “I liked learning about what kind of doctors are around to help you.” Some really appreciated learning about the equipment and instruments: “The blood model was cool!”
Dr. Dee appreciated the opportunity to share her occupation with the students at Poly. She said her hope was to teach the students that visits to the doctor don’t have to involve pain and that doctors are people too (not scary monsters!). Kwitny reflected, “I think I learned far more from the students than they learned from me, which hopefully makes me a better school nurse.”
“I wanted to share my profession with my daughter and her classmates in a fun, hands-on way,” shared Dr. Kim. “I hope that the experience inspires them to become future healers in their own way.” Dr. Tyson was fascinated by the students’ avid engagement: “I was impressed that every child appreciated having tools to create viable solutions for their stuffy in need. No situation was the same and each of them got to shine and solve a unique problem!”
Dr. Shahin Chandrasoma enjoyed the interaction with the students: “I was excited to see the creativity with which children approach making stories, to tell me the history of their toy’s illness. It was fun to ask questions about what brought the toy to the doctor to see their little minds piece together cogent narratives and explanations.”
Dr. Stetson explained his willingness to spend his morning with the kindergarten students: “Honestly, what could more fun?” He explained that he hoped to help students appreciate how fun and fascinating both healing and medicine can be. His diagnosis of one fluffy patient? “That cyanotic fur might be a sign of thrombosis of the stuffing and should be treated immediately!”
The students took home with them their “mended” buddies as well as a new understanding of the world of medicine.