Handwashing – Keeping hygiene on the agenda in a busy classroom

  • Handwashing – Keeping hygiene on the agenda in a busy classroom

How to keep young minds thinking about keeping young hands clean and germ free...

As children flock back to their classrooms across the country, many teachers and educational staff are working hard to bridge the gaps in learning, help settle anxious minds and follow the ‘new normal’ whilst adhering to the National Curriculum.

With so much to cover in the classroom, handwashing is now having to sit at the top of the priority list alongside education as a classroom fundamental.

To help get children in the classroom enthused about the basics again, Hope Education has shared its top tips to get handwashing back to the forefront of young minds.

Teaching about germs

There is lots of information flying around in the current climate which can make children either very worried or completely shut down. Help children understand the importance of good hygiene and add germs to the curriculum with these simple solutions.

  • Include hygiene and germs in assemblies or class discussions.
  • Include germs and disease history in your science lesson – we once thought the plague was caused by cats and illness by evil spirits.
  • Renew your hand wash posters regularly to keep children engaged with the message.
  • Put the spotlight on the cleaners in your school and get them to talk about what they do.

Make handwashing fun

Children will engage for longer and with more enthusiasm when something is fun, and we love the NHS hand washing song.

Watch it and teach your class here:

The quality of handwashing amongst children can quickly deteriorate when there’s a choice between getting back to a game with friends and following proper guidelines.

Bring messy play into the mix and sprinkle glitter on both sides of their hands and instruct them to wash the glitter off with soap and water. Then hold an inspection with certificates for cleanest hands.

This is a great way to get children thinking about the proper way to wash hands and getting into all the nooks and crannies.

Lead with a strong routine

While we all hope every child is following fantastic hand hygiene at home, it can be the case that the example led at home is of varying success!

Get a chart up in each classroom, if necessary, to encourage children to think ‘wash hands first’.

Some great check in points include:

  • before and after eating
  • after using the toilet
  • after playing outside
  • after blowing your nose or sneezing

Once this checklist is in place and the classroom routine is set, you’ll be surprised how quickly children will self-regulate their hand washing routine.

Make sure when doing this, that the hand washing stations, or areas are easy to get to and for the more nervous children who may be anxious about social distancing or handwashing itself.

It may also help to create a rota for shared spaces.

And finally…rewards!

Rewards and prizes work as incentives to keep children on track. It can really help to find rewards which are meaningful and fun to your class and then award them accordingly.

From children who are helpful in coordinating routines and keeping others on track to children who have shown massive improvement.

We are certain by just implementing a few of the tips above, you can easily keep hand hygiene a priority in your classroom and keep unnecessary absences to a minimum.

Pie Corbett