Children between the ages of 2 and 4 visited 13 different trucks for the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre nursery school’s 15th annual ‘Touch a Truck Day’ on Sept. 27. The event seeks to teach the toddlers about different organizations in the community.
Some of the vehicles the children were able to explore included an ambulance, a police car, a school bus, an ice cream truck, the Village of East Rockaway’s emergency management truck and bucket trucks from the Public Service Enterprise Group. The East Rockaway Fire Department’s truck was not present because it comes to the nursery school on a separate day, when firefighters teach children about fire safety, according to Cheryl Karp, the early childhood director for the nursery school.
“We don’t believe in taking the children out on trips, so we like to bring in-hand programs, and we believe that if a child can’t touch it, it’s not going to be in their heads,” Karp said. “So we want everything to be a hands-on program for them.”
As part of the program, the children listened as workers, such as Ryan Wolff, a lineman for PSEG, explained the duties their jobs entail. Wolff and other PSEG employees showed off a bucket truck’s cherry picker, which one student noted is used for rescuing kids stuck in a tree.
“It’s a nice event,” Wolff said. “It’s good for the kids [to] get them outside.”
The tours ended with the children getting their own plastic PSEG hard hats and a treat from Mr. Bill Kalliggidis’s ice cream truck. “I love them,” said Kalliggidis. “All the kids are wonderful people and respect me, and I love them too.”
East Rockaway Mayor Bruno Romano, who spoke to the children after the trucks left, said that he thought that ‘Touch a Truck Day’ was a good idea for the school. “It’s great for a partner like HERJC to continue giving a hands-on look to our next generation to different types of equipment,” he said via email in a statement to the Herald. “Seeing different types of big rigs up close and personal in addition to encountering, touching and exploring vehicles they see on the road, East Rockaway’s children are expanding their horizons and gaining knowledge about the world around us.”
The nursery school was set to continue their hands-on learning programs on Oct. 4, after the Herald went to press, with a discussion of Native American culture and a tour inside a teepee.