When something needs to be explained to children it is always the best option to show it as a prime example. And teachers around the world need to practice showing instead of telling with words only important routines. That’s what a teacher from Idaho named Jaralee Metcalf decided to do – to show her pupils how important is to wash their hands with soap and water.
It is hard not to show off her project, as it is very easy to understand by little kids and them to start practicing on their own.
Last winter, Jaralee Metcalf who is a behavioral specialist from Idaho Falls Elementary School, was tired of being sick of flu all the time. Even though the flu speeded like wildfire in her class, she was dedicated to showing her pupils the importance of washing hands to reduce germs that causes them to get sick.
However, the children in her class are very young to understand how viruses and bacteria work. Therefore, she came up with an idea: a few kids were аsked wash their hands with various levels of hand cleanliness and then touch 5 pieces of bread from the same loaf. After they touched the pieces of bread, they put them into individual plastic bags and observe what will happen to the slices for one month.
In her Facebook post, Jaralee explained: “We took fresh bread and touched it.”
Her post was shared more than 70K times.
The first piece of bread was from the surface of all the classroom laptops, but the second piece wasn’t rubbed on anything- it was put straight into the plastic bag. For the third piece, the whole class touched it with dirty unwashed hands. Then the children washed their hands with soap and warm water and touched the fourth piece, and finally, for the fifth piece of bread the pupils washed their hands with hand sanitizer and touched it.
After a month, they checked the pieces and they weren’t surprised by the results – the one slice that was rubbed against the Chromebook looked the worst. However, the teacher explained that they do sanitize the laptops, but refused for this experiment, as it was crucial to show her pupils how one laptop can be filled with germs.
The fourth piece was in the best condition because the children washed their hands before touching it. It was a clear result and lesson of the importance of often washing hands with warm water and soap.
The third piece was in the worst shape – the children touched it with dirty hands. Spectacular mold growths had started growing on the surface one month after it was put in the bag. And the result was everything the teacher needed to show her pupils, as no further explanation was needed.
Surprisingly, the fifth piece that was touched with sanitized hands had a lot of bacteria too. Therefore, the conclusion is that proper hand-washing with soap cannot be replaced with hand sanitizer. The results of the project were shared on Facebook to remind parents to teach their children how and why it is important to wash hands properly. The project was accepted form other schools and families as a great example.
Though we all thought that hand sanitizer was enough to clean our hands, today we learned we were wrong. Teach your kids to wash their hands correctly and stay safe!