Today, I experienced our class field trip to the fireboat through the eyes of a child. Earlier in the school year my team teacher suggested we visit the fireboat as a means to tie in the social studies theme – “World of Work”. Confused because I had never in my entire life heard of a “fireboat” I asked, “What’s a fireboat?” I came home that night and asked my family and my childhood friends, who like me, are college educated professionals, products of hardworking immigrant families where English was our second language and Spanish was the home language. None of them had ever heard of a fireboat. A fellow colleague (also from an immigrant family) shared a book with me and chuckled – “Don’t worry, I had no idea what that was either!” As I read and perused the pictures in the book, Fireboat, I waited for this special day with much anticipation.
When we arrived to the Fireboat Station in San Pedro, I couldn’t wait to put a real life experience to the book that I had read with much curiosity. The fireboat was out, doing a dance with the water. It reminded me of the Bellagio Water Show in Las Vegas.
Then we walked inside the station and it was the most awesome thing ever. It was dark, mysterious and beautiful. While we waited for the fireboat to dock, we were given an informative tour. I really appreciate how the firefighter leading the tour emphasized how every firefighter helps clean, cook, organize and maintain the fireboat. It was a natural tie-in to the theme, “World of Work” – a study of the many systems in place needed to keep and maintain a community thriving.
After the tour, our little ones were given the opportunity to handle a fire hose. They held onto the long hose, waiting patiently to get wet…and boy did they get wet!
While the little ones waited to get their turn at spraying water from the hose, a student ran up to me and said, “There’s a girl firefighter here, like your book. You have to talk to her.” I eventually talked to the girl firefighter whose name is Valerie (shout out to Valerie and all the other girl firefighters!). I loved that Valerie said that where she’s from, she was raised with the belief that she could be whatever she wanted to be when she grew up. I shared with Valerie that my picture book, Pink Fire Trucks aims to inspire this important message. I could see how significant this was for my female students since it was mentioned a few times on our drive back to school.
Thank you Fireboat Station 112 for your time and dedication. Today was exciting! It’s important for students of all ages to not only be able to conceptualize concepts they are learning, but to experience them. Field trips are important. And for an adult who had never heard of the word “fireboat” – today’s field trip was extra special.