For the third year, the Museum of Health Care at Kingston held a Family Day program that focused on staying healthy, dispelling fears about doctor visits, and learning about health care history.
Children aged three to eight were invited to bring their teddy bear or other stuffed toy to the Museum of Health Care where “teddy doctors and nurses” examined and treated the toys’ ailments, real or imaginary. Originally created by former Program Director Catherine Toews, the program was so popular the first year that the Museum decided to turn it into an annual event.
“This has quickly become one of our favourite programs to run because we get to work with kids as young as three” says Ms. Stepa. “It’s not always easy teaching young children about health care, but we found a fun way to get them to interact with medical professionals.”
The goal of the program is to introduce different aspects of a doctor’s visit, such as describing the roles of different medical professionals like nurses and technicians, as well as some of the instruments they use. The children talk about getting sick and how to feel better, make reflective headbands and draw a “feel better room.” “We want children to think of doctor visits not as scary, dreaded events, but as a normal part of staying healthy,” adds Stepa.
The event is run by Program Director Jenny Stepa, with the help of education docents and retired Kingston General Hospital nurses. The nurses interact with the children and help treat the stuffed toys.
Delivering education programs like Teddy Bear Hospital is one of the core functions of the Museum. To that end, the Museum provides a number of programs, tours and drop-in activities that teach participants of all ages about the history of health care. In March the Museum is holding a March Break Program for ages 6-12 entitled “Pump it UP!” on the topic of fitness and health.