My dear friend, science teacher and children's author extraordinaire, Rebecca Johnson, asked me if I would like to assit with a 'Nearly a Vet Convention', at St Aidan's School, Corinda. I had previously commented I would like to be a fly on the wall at one, having heard just how exciting and engaging they were, especially for young girls. I was definitely eager to join this event.
A range of Rebecca's books.
Our first chore on arrival was to fold and fill the Vet Kit boxes with a real digital thermometer, working stethescope, face mask, surgical gloves, pipette, specimen jar, a real bandage for animals, a 'Nearly a Vet' diary and a syringe pen.
The lab coats were kept separate, so that we could quickly pop them over the Nearly Vets heads, as they arrived.
Rebecca set up her teaching display.
Then, 90 eager Nearly Vets, ranging in age from 4 to 11, began to arrive with their toy pet animal to receive their kit and lab coat.
Some took time to have Rebecca sign their favourite "Juliet, Nearly a Vet" book, whilst waiting for the convention to commence.
Rebecca's initial emphasis was to stress to the maxium, "it is never okay to be cruel to animals".
Discussion followed on the role of a vet, which led to the 'Nearly Vets' finally being able to open their kits to find their stethoscope.
Concentration as the 'Nearly Vets' listen to their own heartbeat, before learning where to place the stethoscope to listen to the heart beat of different animals.
After much discussion as to why vets take the temperature of sick animals, our 'Nearly Vets' took out their digital thermometer to take their own temperatures. A discussion (and a few laughs) then followed as the stuffed toys had their temperatures taken in the way vets do...ie, inserting in stuffed toy bottoms. A reminder was given that this was not something we would do to our real pets!
A syringe couldn't be included for obvious safety reasons, however Rebecca managed to find a syringe style pen, to go with the vet notebook. The 'Nearly Vets' recorded information they had learnt during the convention .
Next on the agenda was bandaging wounds and broken limbs. Great skill was shown by all the 'Nearly Vets'.
The use of face masks and surgical gloves was then discussed.
Time was rushing on. Rebecca's final segment was relating to the 'Nearly Vets', how she became involved in writing and especially in writing her "Juliet - Nearly a Vet' series of books that had brought them to this convention. Rebecca stressed how important it is to verbalise ones ideas first, before writing one's story down. A keen volunteer offered to write some of her ideas down.
All too soon, it was time to pack up their Vet Kits, thank Rebecca and I believe rush home to practise their new vet skills on parents, sibblings, toys and with their parent's permission and guidance, on their pets.
But the morning was not quite over. Many of Rebecca's books were purchased and she happily continued signing, chatting and encouraging these lovely, young 'Nearly Vets'.
How gorgeous is this toy siamese cat?
And these two delightful Nearly Vets.
What a marvellous morning with the 'Nearly Vets' and their inspiring convention leader, Rebecca. I do hope I am invited to help again.
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