Calgary

Introducing 'Little Medical School': STEM-based workshop teaches kids about medicine

An after-school program in Calgary called Little Medical School is gathering kids from the ages of four to 12 and igniting their passion for medicine.

The after-school program's mission is to inspire tomorrow’s healthcare professionals today

Lincoln McCallum, 11, says the Little Medical School makes him feel like he's capable of doing great things. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Medical school came early for these aspiring doctors.

An after-school program in Calgary called Little Medical School is gathering kids from the ages of four to 12 and igniting their passion for medicine.

"I wanted to give kids the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a doctor and have a mini medical school experience," said Ann Roque, the owner and director of operations of Little Medical School.

Roque said the school is a STEM-based and medical-themed workshop for kids and features hands-on interactive instruction, role play, crafts and games.

Ann Roque, the owner of Little Medical School, says she loves teaching kids about medicine. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Roque said this type of program teaches kids useful skills and inspires tomorrow's healthcare professionals today.

"In Canada there's an alarmingly [high] need for doctors and there's also this growing population of the elderly," said Roque, who works as a physician assistant and clinic coordinator while she finishes her Canadian medical licensing exams.

"I think it's our social responsibility to be able to shape our future in this sense, so that we have a future generation that's interested in the health care field."

She said her students learn how the body and organs work, how to use medical instruments, how to administer first aid and how to measure medicine.

"Kids are excited about knowing new things, so we take that opportunity of giving them new ideas and new interests and it's opened up a whole new world to them," she said.

Lukas Berezniak, 6, says he wants to be a palaeontologist when he grows up. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The idea for the program started after Roque's five-year-old son voiced his dreams to become a doctor.

Roque noted the lack of medical-themed workshops for kids and said that's when she decided to start her own.

"I wanted to inspire him more in this fashion because I believe that kids need to be taught and guided on what they can perform or they can aspire in the future," she said.

Grace Fietz and Heer Uphdyay say they both want to be doctors someday. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

One of Roque's students, 11-year-old Nikola Cerekovic, said it's fun learning new words about the body.

"We get to learn how to be a doctor and the importance of health," he said. "We also do it in a fun way which I think is a good idea."

Nikola Cerekovic, 11, says he's learning about what it's like to be a doctor. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Miguel Mijares, nine, said he wants to be a heart surgeon because he's passionate about helping people.

"I would be happy if people felt better after they have a disease and I want to help give them a better life," he said.

"A lot of my classmates in Grade 3 and 4 said it was really gross that I want to be a heart surgeon. I don't care what they say, because I just want to help and doctors are here for a reason."

Mijares said he likes learning about medicine and facts about the heart.

"I just love learning about medical things," he said.

Miguel Mijares says his parents are both doctors and he plans on following in their footsteps. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Roque said the magic of Little Medical School is teaching kids the different steps necessary to become a doctor and motivating them to reach their goals.

"We give them the inspiration that they can do it. Even if they don't become medical doctors in the end, at least they have the goal that they could achieve whatever they want to be in life," she said.

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