On February 8th, the kindergarteners at Toomer Elementary School brought their teddy bears to be treated at the Teddy Bear Hospital. A group of 15 Emory medical students posed as doctors and examined the teddy bears that the children brought in as patients. The doctors assessed the teddy bears by taking x-rays, checking their blood pressure, heart rate, and more. The children participated in the check-up by examining their eyes, giving them shots, and listening for their heartbeat. They were fully engaged in the activity and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“The idea is to allow the children to experience the medical interaction through the eyes of their teddy bear,” says Chris Lewis, Director of Emory’s Teddy Bear Hospital. “It’s all about getting the children excited about health in a setting where they feel comfortable.”
As the kindergarten classes rotated through the examination room, they received an interactive lecture on health. The lesson covered topics including public health, safety issues, healthy foods, the importance of exercise, and more. They were also introduced to a skeleton and learned about bones and other parts of the body.
“Initially, the kids were actually quite scared of the skeleton,” says Vineet Tiruvadi, an Emory medical student. “Once they warmed up to the skeleton, they loved it, and the skeleton even got a few hugs at the end of the day. It was great to see the children get over their initial fear of the skeleton, just like their initial fear of a doctor.”