submitted by Angi Howell
The Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) classes at A.W. Spalding in Collegedale, Tenn., had a more hands-on experience than they were anticipating. The three- to four-year-old students were given a unique opportunity to hold real human hearts.
Prior to the human hearts arriving in class, ECEC teacher Amy Wash began the class’ biology unit, “All About Me.” They started by learning how to put together human skeletons and vital organs through songs, visual aids, and hands-on diagrams. Wash had paper cutouts of skeletons and organs scaled to the size of the students’ bodies. With a song to help guide them, the students were able to put an entire human skeleton together by the end of the week. Unbeknownst to the class, a special surprise was in store.
During the week the class was putting together skeletons, Wash contacted Gordon Guild, D.O., a local physician in Ooltewah, Tenn., who has three grandsons in the Greater Collegedale School System. She asked him if he had anything he could bring to show the students. Guild happened to have access to two human hearts, one male and one female.
With all the parents’ permission, Guild came in to the classroom to present the hearts. All but two of the students, by their own choice, held the hearts with excitement and curiosity.
After getting over the formaldehyde odor, a barrage of questions came:
“How did you get the hearts?”
“Why do they smell like that?”
“Why are they that color? I thought hearts were red.”
Guild took the time to ease the students concerns, and explained how some people volunteer their bodies for science after they die. He then explained the hearts’ color and size differences between genders, as well as ways the students could improve the health of their own hearts.
When explaining the hearts’ size differences, Guild said, “Despite the male heart being bigger, the female heart has just as much love to give.”
The ECEC classes are no strangers to unique hands-on experiences or visitors.
As Wash stated, “We’ve had a scuba diver, a pilot, policeman, and baker/owner of Piece-a-Cake Bakery come into the classroom before.”
These opportunities and the many to come are sure to serve as a testament to the dedication of the ECEC teachers to their students’ hearts, minds, and futures.
Georgia-Cumberland | February 2019