Protecting Children: Using Social Stories to Introduce Concepts and Emergency Preparedness Drills

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Course Time: 35 Minutes

For the second installment of our new protecting children series, we are pleased to provide you with this free course from our friend Tara Tuchel at Autism Little Learners. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness and Autism Little Learners teamed up to create a series of social stories to help children prepare for safety and emergency preparedness drills. These books are for all children to enjoy, but they are also aimed at helping children with Autism understand, learn, and communicate new concepts. Our social stories help prepare children ahead of time for the changes in routine that come with performing safety drills.

This course will teach participants how to introduce new concepts in the classroom and how to use social stories to teach children about emergency preparedness drills in a safe and comfortable environment. Participants will receive free copies to download of the following drills: Fire Drill, Tornado Drill, Active Shooter Drill (Bees to a Beehive), Hurricane Social Story, and Wildfires Social Story.

Thank you so much to Tara Tuchel from Autism Little Learners for all your important work helping children with Autism.

Learning Goals and Objectives:

  • Discuss how to use visual supports to teach and prepare children for upcoming changes in their routine
  • Identify at least two ways to prepare and meet children at their level for emergency preparedness drills
  • Describe the best learning environment to teach children about drills through social stories
  • Identify at least two resources to have available when performing emergency preparedness drills
  • Describe how to help children and support them as they return to school

Your Instructor


Tara is a speech/language pathologist who has specialized in autism for the past 20 years. She started her career at the elementary level and is now enjoying the early childhood level in Minnesota. Tara has a published children’s book about autism titled “My Best Friend Will” and is an adjunct faculty member for the ASD licensure program at Hamline University. In 2015 and 2016 Tara traveled to Dmitrov, Russia to work side by side with educators and parents to teach them how to work with children with autism.

Core Competencies Standards

We know that every state has its own set of standards and protocols regarding statewide training and professional and career development courses for the early childhood community. Our online training courses were researched, developed, and designed with input from early childhood professionals, child care providers, directors and administrators, early childhood learning institutions, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, public health professionals, public policy experts, emergency management, and law enforcement.

During our on-site training, we seek professional guidance and feedback from early childhood professionals. Our online courses reflect this feedback, and we aim to provide early childhood professionals with the latest and most informative core competency learning standards. We do not expect early childhood professionals to be emergency preparedness experts, therefore our online training courses provide skills, abilities, qualities, and actionable tips and policies. Our training enables early childhood communities across the country, so they can serve the children in their care and provide a safe and prepared environment.

Who Are These Online Training Courses For?

Early childhood professionals have an awesome responsibility. Not only do they provide a caring environment for infants, toddlers, and children, but they also must provide a safe and secure environment. Our online training courses provide early childhood professionals with resilience, confidence, and a strong learning foundation to protect children in an emergency or natural disaster.

We know that the needs of the early childhood community are very specific. That’s why we designed our courses to meet the needs of early childhood professionals, those that care for infants, toddlers, and children, Child Care Resource and Referral organizations, parents, teachers, child care providers, directors and administrators, and early childhood learning institutions.

All the topics that we cover in our online training courses are approached in a safe and calm manner. We aim to address the specific needs of the early childhood community, and we wholeheartedly agree that children should be allowed to learn, grow, and dream without the threat of aggressive preparedness policies. During our online training courses, we never call for unannounced drills or simulated violence of any kind. Instead, we provide actionable ways for child care providers to teach children about emergency preparedness, response, and recovery in a developmentally age-appropriate way.

Assessments and Student Accountability

Our online training courses keep students actively engaged and eager to learn. We have designed our courses with a learn at your pace approach; students can start and stop courses at their convenience, go back and re-learn or refresh course topics, and students also have access to the online courses for one full year from the time of purchase.

Our teaching approach is warm, calm, and respectful, and we make sure no student is left behind. With a mix of slides, graphics, videos, and other creative visuals, students feel empowered, focused, energetic, and ready to learn. We have framed our coursework to meet the needs of the early childhood community, making sure that everyone can participate and put our practices to use in a child care setting. Because our courses make participants feel empowered and confident, students have the desire to continue learning and building upon each lesson in our online course catalog.

Time Awarded for Online Training Courses

Upon the successful completion of each online training course, participants are awarded a certificate of completion. Each certificate states the name of the student, course minutes, name of the course, and date the course was completed. The time awarded for the course is equal to the amount of time used to complete the course.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Learn more about our offerings and check out all of our early childhood resources: The Institute for Childhood Preparedness.

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