Kids are told not to play with cigarette lighters and matches, but do they really listen?
That is what a safety expert from NBC’s Today Show tried to ascertain by conducting an experiment at Lil’ Angels Academy at 818 Clarence Avenue on Tuesday, July 21 and Wednesday, July 22.
The popular morning show presented a demonstration in which a national-recognized fire safety expert first addressed the school’s 5-year-olds. The next day, a camera crew placed prop matches and lighters, which posed no danger, around the playroom and taped the results as the pupils played there.
With hidden cameras rolling and the staff watching the children closely from an adjoining room, the experiment put to the test if the children would abstain from playing with the fake matches and lighters.
“A fire safety expert spoke with the children about how matches, lighters, and lit candles are dangerous,” said Maria Mittermeier, owner of Lil’ Angels. “The next day, they put wooden sticks with tips painted red and other props into cubby holes and play areas around the room. The children were supervised while this was going on. The results were shocking and surprising. About half went right along and played with the props, and the other half said ‘no, I am not going to do that.’”
Mittermeier said that producers of the Today Show called her out of the blue and that she is honored that her school and day-care center, which recently began a free Universal Pre-K program in conjunction with the Department of Education, was chosen to for the experiment.
“Out of all the children’s day-care centers in New York City they chose us, which is great,” Mittermeier said. “What is even better is we recently got funding from the NYC Department of Education to do Universal Pre-K, which relieves crowding in the neighboring public schools. It is free for parents.”
For further information on Lil’ Angels, call (718) 792 -4410.