A Lesson in Germs and Glitter

It is the fateful “Achoo!” that allows for the preschool saying, “If you sneeze, cover please!” Whether it is Spring time allergies or the dreadful flu season, the preschool children at The Children’s Workshop in South Dennis are very prepared to handle an onset of germs.
We began in early October teaching about how germs can spread from one child to another.  During circle time, we sat in a large circle.  I had sprinkled a large amount of glitter on a pan and placed my hands in it.  When I removed my hands, they were completely covered with, what we call, the preschool plague.  I proceeded to tell my class that glitter, just like germs, can be passed from one friend to another until everyone has the germs on their hands.  I then shook hands with the child to the right of me and he shook hands with the child next to him.  This cycle continued until all the way around our circle until the child on the left of me had glitter on her hands too.  The children all looked at their hands as I continued talking, “Now we all have the germs on our hands! The only way to get rid of these germs is to wash our hands with soap and water, and then dry our hands with a paper towel.”  The children all took turns washings and drying their hands.  When everyone had returned to the circle, we compared our hands. The over whelming verdict was that the germs were all gone!
Ever since performing this experiment, we continue to wash our hands frequently to rid ourselves of the germs that constantly linger in a preschool classroom.  We wash our hands before and after we eat, after blowing or wiping our noses, after using the bathroom, and after we come in from outside.  The children have become adept at catching a friend when he or she needs to go wash their hands.  I often catch my students repeating the phrase, “We are Safe! We Wash Our Hands!”

This has helped my students to become more aware of their bodies, what it means to be sick, and what it may take to help a friend or family member feel better.  I frequently see my students run over and give a hug or a pat on the back if they notice a friend is not feeling well.  By doing this, they are demonstrating a growing empathy that we love to encourage here at The Children’s Workshop.

Heather Fiscus is the lead teacher of the Preschool One classroom at The Children’s Workshop in South Dennis.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Psychology and is currently working towards her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been with The Children’s Workshop for about a year, and says, “I love every minute of it!” This blog was also featured on capecodmommies.com!