Washing hands is an essential part of a child’s day and it is important to create an environment where children understand the significance of personal hygiene. Making hand washing fun and part of the daily routine is the perfect way to encourage good hand washing habits! The practitioners in each of our nurseries will be planning focused activities this month to support good practice in this area.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) identifies key early learning goals for the children that support Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Language Development and through the simple process of learning to wash hands we are facilitating the achievement of these goals. For example:
Demonstrate a sense of pride in own achievement – Children develop independence and a build on their self-esteem through being able to successfully wash their hands properly. Through their achievements their confidence grows and they are far more likely to accept new challenges and achieve new tasks.
Support children and young people to develop healthy behaviours – children are being supported to minimise the engage in good general hygiene. Through role modelling, planned activities and routines they will develop good practice that will take them through their childhood to risk of spreading infection and adulthood. Washing hands after going to the toilet becomes an instinctive behaviour.
Use a widening array of words to express or elaborate on ideas – children build on their understanding of the reasons why it is important to wash our hands and talk about this. Through questioning they are building on their vocabulary, thinking critically about the activity and cementing their understanding through experiential learning. When talking through the activities, they are reflecting on and modifying what they are doing.
The children are also being taken into other areas of learning when building on their knowledge and understanding of the world, for example, looking at images of germs or being able to sequence the order of the process of washing hands. Most importantly, activities promote opportunities for children to learn and discover through game play and interaction and using a song to reinforce learning is always a good idea!
Children should ideally wash their hands for twenty seconds and one way of ensuring this is to sing a song that lasts the duration. It becomes a fun activity and we can join in with the song as they rub their hands together, following the sequence of rubbing the backs of their hands and between their fingers.
Examples of songs to sing….
Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
(Sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Play our handy game.
Rub and scrub and scrub and rub
Germs go down the drain
This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands
(Sing to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”)
This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands, every single day.
This is the way we scrub our fingers, scrub our fingers, scrub our fingers,
This is the way we scrub our fingers, every single day.
This is the way we rinse our hands, rinse our hands, rinse our hands,
This is the way we rinse our hands, rinse those germs away!