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Demystifying Hospital Visits Through Play

- July 7, 2016

With several of our children attending hospitals over the past and coming months for significant medical treatments, we have sought various ways to support every child’s understanding of hospitals, health, and medical assistance.

There has been numerous child focused discussions. Educators have responded to questions and experiences of many of our children and we have also created our own hospital within our play environment. In this space, we have observed children sharing their own personal stories about hospitals, visiting a doctor as well as treatment they have received, or will be receiving in the future. During play, children have enthusiastically taken on the roles of either patient or doctor and this has allowed the children to handle and use real doctor’s tools, such as an otoscope & real stethoscopes (kindly donated by a parent who works in a hospital) and to demystify many routine hospital procedures and implements. Whilst we know that it won’t remove all of the understandable anxiety associated with being in hospital, we do hope that normalising some aspects and providing children with the opportunity to talk about it and explore in a non-threatening environment just some of the things that happen in hospital, will go a long way in supporting children who regularly visit or receive hospital treatment, as well as reassuring all children, many of whom will deeply miss their friends during their long absences from the centre.

These discussions led to the children in Gorton pre-school wanting to organise a hospital party in which all families were invited. Children helped make a big sign informing their families of the event, food was organised and invitations were sent out. Some of the children gathered around the phone to make a special phone call to a friend who is absent due to his own ongoing medical treatments, to make sure he could come and all the children were overjoyed when he was able to attend the party! The children decided to have a dress up theme for the party which was a choice between wearing pyjamas or a superhero costume. For one child in particular, wearing a superhero costume during hospital treatments helps her feel strong and brave!

The other reason for the party was to connect the families of the children undergoing treatment, as many are attending the same hospital.

We are so proud of the many ways that all our families have rallied around each other to build a strong network of support and love.

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