A police uniform can be an intimidating thing for a small child. Living in London, it’s probably quite likely that your little one has witnessed some or other street-side altercation involving a police officer and member of the public – whether it’s at the scene of an accident (minor or other) or perhaps on the bus or even on your walk to school. These negative associations can create an incorrect perception in fertile minds, and we definitely wouldn’t want the children at St Andrew’s Montessori to be afraid of the men and women who work hard to protect our city, our borough and our community.
Local police community support officers (PCSOs) generally perform routine duties; assisting and supporting police officers, gathering intelligence, carrying out security patrols and, through their presence alone, reassuring the public. Where possible, they also attend to matters not requiring police powers. True to the ‘hands on’ approach that Montessori teaching loves to foster, we invited some of our local community police to spend some time with the children at school – in an environment that is safe and familiar to our learners.
Our aim was for the children to see these officers as people who help them, rather than scary authoritative figures. We hoped that personal interaction with the PCSOs would dispel any fears surrounding ‘the uniform’, which is merely a means by which we all, as members of the community, can identify community police as people who can help us (if we so ever need).
And we are pleased to report the event a resounding success. The ladies who popped in for a visit were companionable and kind, and enjoyed working in partnership with our children at a level that was easy for them to relate to. The officers showed us their badges and even allowed the children to try on parts of their uniform. There were lots of giggles, and our little ones proudly showed the PSCOs all of the lovely work they have done at school.
We encourage mums and dads to talk to their children about the visit (perhaps show them the pictures we have posted along with this blog if their memories need a little prompting); a brief conversation could be a gateway into understanding your child’s feeling about police although hopefully any fears are down to a minimum after our PCSOs friendly visit. Also CLICK HERE for more information about the type of work that PCSOs do in your community.