I don't know about you, but things can get a little 'snotty' in pre-school. Allergy and cold season always hits hard in VA, and I find myself repeating "cover your cough", "don't pick your nose", and "use hand sanitizer" over and over again. This year, I really wanted to emphasize good hygiene and staying healthy to my students! So, I sat my students down for a 'heart to heart' talk about germs....in a four year old glitter-filled kinda way!
I asked the students about their knowledge of germs and what happens when they don't wash their hands. We talked about the importance of covering coughs/sneezes with elbows, using sanitizer, and keeping things (hands, dirt, etc.) out of their mouths! My motto is "only food and drink go in your mouth!" (Thanks Dad for this bit of wisdom when I was younger!) I then used a book about germs to show them what germs look like under a microscope. This REALLY got them! They loved seeing what the invisible, yucky germs really look like on their hands! We talked about how none of those germs looked like delicious chocolate, sandwiches, and even strawberries- so why would we want to put fingers in our mouths?
Then, I demonstrated how germs stick to hands. Each student rubbed lotion on his/her hands. After that, I sprinkled a little bit of glitter on each child's hands to demonstrate a real germ. The glitter stuck to the lotion and the students were VERY disgusted at the idea of having yucky germs on them! We learned a hand washing song and then practiced washing off the 'germs' while singing our song! It was cute when students found glitter on them later and claimed to have found germs on them!
Even a day after this lesson, I've noticed that fewer students are putting their hands in their mouths and more are using tissues when their noses get 'itchy'! I might have the hand washing song stuck in my head, but it's worth it for a clean, healthy classroom!
Top and Bottom, Top and Bottom (wash tops & bottoms of hands)
In Between, In Between (washing between fingers)
We can wash our hands, We can wash our hands (rinsing)
They're all clean, They're all clean (drying)