School Desk

Nursery students take the wheel


Students at Riverdale Temple Nursery School (RTNS) watched in awe as a fireman climbed up a ladder extending from his truck to the roof of the center of worship. One student seemed to take the demonstration seriously.

“There’s no fire anywhere!” three-year-old Hezekiah Konovitch shouted in confusion.

“He’s just pretending,” his nanny Carol Laudat reassured him. “He’s showing you what they do on the job.”

Firefighters from Ladder and Engine 52 drove their trucks into the parking lot at RTNS as part of the school’s Truck Day on May 21, joined by a sanitation truck, an all-terrain forklift and a man lift.

“You can learn about things in books and by talking about them, but especially at this age, they can use their senses to experience what they learn about,” said RTNS Director Laurie Steinmetz. 

Students at the event got a chance to see the trucks up close, sit in drivers’ seats and learn how each vehicle worked.

“I saw the lot filled with all these trucks and I was very excited,” said Karen Orenstein, mother of three-year-old Charlotte Orenstein, who lives across the street from the nursery school. “I think it’s great for kids to see them up close and personal instead of just driving past on the street.”

As an FDNY paramedic listened to Charlotte’s heartbeat through a stethoscope, student Luke Dunphy, 2, got a chance to sit in the driver’s seat of one of the fire engines. A fireman helped him look through a pair of binoculars he’d found in the compartment next to the seat.

“This is basically a big toolbox,” fireman Tim Fogarty said while describing different parts of the truck.

He explained that the truck holds tools that could come in handy in the event of a fire — axes, crowbars, ropes and fire hoses.

After he told students that the front passenger seat is where the officer sits — Captain Robert Keating, in the case of Ladder 52 — students took turns in the officer’s chair two at a time, posing for photos and pretending to be firefighters.

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