DHS launches Ready Kids
| 02.03.2006 | 07:13:44 | Views: 2726 | ID:
February 3 '06: The Department of Homeland Security has announced the launch of Ready Kids - a program designed to teach children 8-12 years old about being prepared for national and natural disasters, USA Today reported Friday.
More than 135,000 middle school teachers in 25 of the largest metropolitan areas in the country are receiving materials to help them begin to teach the program. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told an audience at Andrew Jackson Language Academy in Chicago, "Preparedness is not just a governmental challenge. ... We all have to learn how to plan for the unexpected," USA Today reported.On its website, a DHS press release elaborated on the new program explaining the partnership roles of the department with other agencies like the Ad Council, and Scholastic Inc. to develop learning tools and materials. "These materials offer lessons that meet national standards for language arts, social studies and geography, while providing teachers and parents with a vehicle to explain important emergency preparedness information to children," the press release read. Ready Kids is an extension of recent efforts by the department to "get parents and children thinking about emergency planning," USA Today reported. The $9.6 million Ready campaign began a series of "public service TV ads aimed at encouraging parents to make emergency plans with their families," in 2004. Child psychologists warn that children could become overly anxious worrying about things like hurricanes or terrorist attacks. Ron Palomares with the American Psychological Association and who helped design the Ready Kids campaign told USA Today, "It's a fine line when you're working to reduce anxiety, not create anxiety. ... They (children) hear bin Laden, and they hear Katrina ... and it's now beginning to become real to them." The new program conveys a lighter approach to preparedness with a mountain lion mascot named Rex. "Rex and his family - his wife Purrcilla, daughter Rory and best friend Hector Hummingbird - explain how families can take a few simple steps to prepare for all types of emergencies," the DHS website said.
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