DOES YOUR CHILD'S PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM INCLUDE HAND WASHING?
Handwashing, when done correctly, is life saving. Not just for kids, for everyone. But let us just think about kids for one minute.
WHO: Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of childhood diarrhoeal disease every year. Diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition in children under five years old. [LINK]
An important criteria of Have's and Have-Not's that has emerged with COVID is people with access to hand wash facilities and people without such access. This is particularly important in the current scenario, but hand wash has always been a crucial but often missing component from our schools and pre-schools.
UNICEF: Every child has the right to a quality education, which includes access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services while at school. Children spend a significant portion of their day at school where WASH services can impact student learning, health, and dignity, particularly for girls. [LINK]
Handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.
Why is Hand Washing Important?
Hand washing as a single measure can bring down gastrointestinal infections; common cold, flu and respiratory infections; malnutrition arising out of repeated bacterial, viral and parasitic infections; many other communicable diseases; and school absenteeism to a marked degree.
Add to that the spread of infections to friends and siblings, the chain if broken can bring down the disease load and the associated costs in the WHOLE SOCIETY by a huge amount.
Small pre-school children are just beginning to develop immunity, and while their exposure to bacteria and viruses builds their immunity, it is also true that they do not need to suffer as much as they do in order to develop immunity. They need better facilities for maintenance of hygiene and they need to learn how to correctly wash their hands, which can even save their lives.
Read more here: Hand Washing: Why It's So Important
"My Child Always Washes His/Her Hands"
A new survey has revealed that almost half of children aged five to 10 years old are not practising proper hand hygiene by using soap when washing their hands at school. [LINK]
There is a correct way to wash hands. Soap is essential for hand wash. Millions of schools in India do not provide soap even if there is water and a place for hand wash.
So here is my question again: DOES YOUR CHILD"S PRESCHOOL HAVE HAND WASHING AS A PART OF THEIR CURRICULUM? MOST INDIAN PRESCHOOLS DON"T!
IF NOT - Then please free to forward this post to the preschool and share it with others - and tell them to see the videos and read the articles linked in this post. I have given a link for free posters as well, which the preschools can use. This small effort to teach hand wash at preschool is a miniscule price for the well-being and lives of our children.
Teach by Example
Handwashing is an easily ingrained habit, and once a child develops this good and healthy habit, it stays with them for life. Start teaching children handwashing at the earliest possible. We put a lot of focus in India about washing our mouth and hands after eating because food is "jhootha", but less stress is put on teaching children the correct way of washing hands with soap for hygiene reasons. Teach children the five easy steps for handwashing—wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry.
Teach children about the main times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating. Make fun games and songs related to washing hands.
Five steps of hand wash:
Wet your hands with clean water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. 20 seconds is the same as if you sing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. I used to ask my child (who didn't want to sing the song) count 1 to 20 by saying one alligator, two alligator, and so on.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel. If clean towel is not available, it is also ok to just let them dry by themselves in air.
FREE Printable from Playful Home Education
Info-book and worksheets for teaching kids about handwashing and germs: DOWNLOAD (Subscriber's Page, please subscribe to view the page)
USEFUL FREE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS:
Some more articles to read:
When & How to Wash Hands - CDC Article: When and How to Wash Your Hands | Handwashing | CDC
How to wash hands correctly in Bangla: কখন এবং কীভাবে আপনার হাত ধোবেন | Handwashing | CDC
FREE HAND WASH POSTERS : Education sector support & resources (debgroup.com)
FREE Posters, stickers, factsheets, graphics: Health Promotion Materials | Handwashing | CDC
EXPERIMENTAL FUN ACTIVITY TO TEACH KIDS ABOUT GERMS AND HAND WASH WITH SOAP:
Fun art & craft activities to teach kids about germs-
FOR OLDER KIDS: Make an experiment project Pepper and Soap Experiment | Science project | Education.com
Hand Wash Teaching Videos: