"A Heart to Heart" in kindergarten and at school
Promoting understanding & integration in the educational environment.
Heart children in kindergarten and at school
A visit for a good heart to heart
When children grow up with a heart defect and the associated operations and multiple stays in hospital, this not only presents great challenges for heart children, parents and relatives, but also for the kindergarten or school social environment (group or class community).
Likewise, the integration into a class community may not be easy for heart children themselves. After years of fighting for their own health, it is often difficult to socialize with other children of the same age.
The healthy children often have many unanswered questions on many different levels. They are unsure of how to treat a heart child, or do not understand many issues that may not be visibly evident.
For this purpose we offer a so-called "Heart to Heart" lesson in the group or class, in which the causes, consequences and limitations of CHD are explained to the children in an age-appropriate manner. This helps to overcome fear of contact. It is especially important for children with CHD to maintain a sense of normality and not to be excluded from the class community. We encourage people to interact with those affected as naturally as possible.
This gives rise to many different questions for parents and educators:
- What should be considered when attending kindergarten or school?
- Can a heart child take part in physical education lessons?
- My heart child is taking blood-thinning medication, what must be taken into account?
- What is the "emergency plan" for teachers?
- As an educator, how do I deal with the heart child's feelings of "being different" in the group and class community?
- Is a heart child automatically an integration child?
We want to create understanding among other children as well as educators and help to ensure that the heart child is included in the class community.
The aim of this educational work in different institutions such as kindergarten and school is to explain to the educators as well as to fellow kindergarten/school peers, the physical and psychological stress the heart child was/is exposed to in such a situation, in an age-appropriate and competent manner. If required, parent and educator evenings are also offered.
In a playful way, children get to dress up and experience what happens during a hospital stay, gain insight into various examinations and learn the basics of cardiovascular circulation in a presentation.
In this way we create a better understanding of a child with CHD in the class community.
"A Heart to Heart" is an initiative of Prof. Mag. Dr. Raphael D. Oberhuber which is carried out in cooperation with "Herzkinder Österreich". Teaching and didactic methods are carried out in scientific consultation with Prof. Mag. Dr. Raphael D. Oberhuber (Clinical & Health Psychologist).