Bradford Tioga Head Start encourages kids to wash up

It’s that time of year when any enclosed spaces, especially schools, can feel like germ factories, with cold and flu bugs lurking and multiplying on every surface. What are parents and teachers to do?

It’s time for “handwashing awareness,” said Jill Wood, information systems coordinator for the Head Start program in Blossburg.

Classroom teachers throughout the month of December created fun activities with handwashing to encourage their three-to five-year old little learners to wash up and stay healthy. It’s part of the larger objective to help students learn responsible behavior, noted Wood.

Education supervisor Phyllis Marriner added, “It is essential to teach children why and when they need to wash their hands and to make it fun!”

Wood explained that each classroom teacher will choose a day in December to complete an activity that teaches children about the importance of handwashing that includes the five steps outlined by the Center for Disease Control:

1. Wet your hands with clean cold or warm running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, being sure to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. That’s about as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice through.

4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Another objective of the instruction involves students spreading the news at home that handwashing is a fun activity that can keep the whole family healthy, Wood pointed out.

When the classroom activity is complete, each child will get a small bar of soap with a card attached with the statement “Handwashing is your super power!” The other side will be printed with a hand washing song that parents can sing with their children. The children can then “teach” their parents what they learned at school.

The handwashing learning activity is part of a larger program of structured activities, like fire prevention and escape plans designed to keep kids and families safe, said Wood.