How do you help young children overcome fears or anxiety about potentially frightening experiences such as going to the dentist or a trip to the doctor or hospital? Exposing children early, before the visit occurs, through child-centered play-based activities prepares children for what to expect and makes them feel in control of the situation. In celebration of Dental Health Month, the children in Jayne Kaht’s Early Childhood Education class at the Academy at Milliken Technical Center enjoyed learning about dental health, tooth care and cavity prevention through an integrated curriculum theme. The children participated in songs, stories, puppet shows, math, science and language arts activities that reinforced concepts about good nutrition and dental care.
To enhance their experience, the children and their parents visited Carol Donahue’s Dental Assisting class at The Academy at Bixhorn Technical Center where the learning through fun continued with scrubbing giant teeth, brushing with magic floss and building a comfort level through activities with the Dental Assisting students before joining them in the lab to have their teeth counted, checked and cleaned. For some of the children, this was this first time sitting in a dentist’s chair, and they enjoyed the ride with their friends!
The unit culminated with a visit from Pediatric Dentist Dr. Melissa (Melnick) of Sachem Dental Group and her staff who visited the classroom. Dr. Melissa was very impressed with the wealth of knowledge our preschoolers displayed and how comfortable they were to have her look in their mouths and count their teeth!