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A functional stethoscope that allows the vibrations of a heartbeat to travel from the chestpiece, through the PVC tubing and into the ears of eager little 'doctors'!
I often see toy stores selling "Doctor Play Sets" - and lots of early learning environments feature these as a part of 'role play'. Certainly children seem to enjoy emulating the role of the 'doctor'. Perhaps this is because a doctor (like a 'teacher' or a 'mum' or 'dad'!) is a member of the child's immediate community who has already had a prominent and positive impact on their lives. Yet the study of Dr Maria Montessori's principles and methods suggests that she would not have welcomed or endorsed the use of plastic play sets featuring toy-stethoscopes and pretend syringes. So how can a Montessori-inspired environment offer all the joyful benefits of this 'role play' while providing an experience that Maria herself would be proud of? With a real, functioning stethoscope!
Such a seemingly simple object actually offers so much and supports the development of the whole child by...
- Enhancing the sense of hearing by learning to focus on the subtle, rhythmic heartbeat emanating through the earbuds.
- Promoting social empathy by encouraging children to consider the health and well-being of their peers.
- Inspiring 'care of the self' by helping a child comprehend the idea of his or her internal health.
- Offering a concrete and meaningful introduction to scientific concepts of biology and human anatomy.
- Encouraging communication and cooperation skills by inspring children to naturally engage in turn-taking and verbal negotiations and reflections.
I personally love observing the way that children engage with the stethoscope in my Montessori classroom. It seems to naturally inspire such a deep level of empathy and care. It always makes me smile to watch two children taking turns to hear each other's heartbeat - and it never takes long for a child to decide that it is time to check the teacher's heart too!
One of the less obvious benefits of including a stethoscope in your home or classroom is that many children seem to find it very engaging, soothing and calming. My personal theory (which is just my own speculation!) is that perhaps the metronome of the human heart strikes a deep emotional chord with a child who so recently enjoyed the comforting sounds of mother's heartbeat in the womb. I may be reading too deeply into my observations but, whatever the reasons may be, it is certainly my experience that many children become thoroughly absorbed in the experience of using a stethoscope!
Please note: This product contains PVC.