Learning About Service: Firefighters Host First Graders at Pajaro Valley Station

Recently, the Mount Madonna School (MMS) first grade students visited the Pajaro Valley Fire Station in Watsonville to learn about its day-to-day operations and the essential services firefighters provide to the community.

The students were welcomed by the firefighters on duty, including Engineer Garrett Saucedo, who led the students’ tour.

“First graders began the year learning about each other and sharing about themselves with others in the class, as part of our effort to create a classroom community,” commented teacher Cassia Laffin. “We then expanded our learning outward into our own communities, helping students differentiate between the cities that we live in and guiding them to develop empathy for the work that others do. I want to promote a respect and understanding for firefighters, citizens in our communities that give so much to keep our families and homes safe.

During their station tour, students seemed interested in seeing where the firefighters sleep and how they live while at the station. One student remarked that with all of its many compartments, a fire truck is like a BIG tool box!

A classmate, meanwhile, questioned why there were piles of clothing lying around, and learned that firefighters strategically place these “turn-outs” of gear and uniforms near their fire trucks for quick access during emergencies.

As part of their classroom preparation for this learning adventure, students drew pictures, labeling goods and services; had discussions about the jobs that their parents do, and whether these jobs are goods or service-related.

“Having students talk about themselves is important,” noted Laffin, “and goes hand-in-hand with listening to others. Learning about one another’s lifestyle and job, and learning to imagine life in their shoes – or in this instance, firefighters’ boots – is invaluable. Empathy building is a huge part of Mount Madonna School’s implicit curriculum.”

Mount Madonna School supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The school offers a well-rounded academic program that meets the highest standards of college preparedness, an exceptional performing arts program, athletics, visual arts and philosophy classes. The travel-study program provides academic enrichment, opportunities for leadership, self-discipline, reflection and critical thinking.


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, mmsmarketing@mountmadonnaschoo

Nestled among the redwoods on 380 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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