HEALTH AND HYGIENE
Health and hygiene go hand in hand. Proper hygiene for children begins at the moment of birth when their tiny bodies are scooped up in towel or wrap and the protective coating from the womb is gently cleaned away. As a child grow, he/she can begin to learn personal hygiene with a little assistance from their parents. Developing good hygiene skills in childhood can set the stage for cleanliness habits as an adult. Personal hygiene is the practice of maintaining cleanliness of the body, it is done through bathing, hair grooming, and hand washing, brushing teeth, trimming nails and cleaning ears among others. Through these personal behaviours, social acceptances are gained.
Education can play a critical role in supporting the efforts of primary health care providers by teaching children about healthy behaviour. All schools should be aware of the importance of school hygiene and sanitation for their students. Teaching students about health focuses mainly on the dissemination of hygiene information aimed at changing or modifying their behaviour.
Maintaining good classroom hygiene is an important aspect of improving the educational efficiency of a classroom. Reducing the environmental factors that can cause illness will ensure that students and teachers will not miss out on valuable class time. Healthier and happier children will perform better in classroom, and teaching children about classroom hygiene could help them grow into environmentally proactive adults.
Role of Teachers in maintaining Health and Hygiene
Teaching the basics of proper personal hygiene is important for keeping kids healthy and clean by teachers. It is especially important for preschoolers to practice good hygiene, particularly hand washing because they spend so much of their time in close contact with each other in the classroom, sharing everything from desks and chairs to germs.
Teach proper hand washing
“Good health begins with clean hands”. The most important health and hygiene habit to teach children is to wash hands, especially after coming back home from school or playing outside and before eating. Hand washing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and illness. Teachers should remind them from time to time to wash their hands with soap and lathers for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
Teach them to cover sneezes and coughs during concept time
Germs can travel far and wide on a sneeze and cough. Get your child into habit of covering their mouth and nose with a tissue or their arm if they cannot reach a tissue fast enough when they sneeze or cough.
Remind them not to touch the eyes or mouth or to pick the nose
Germs can easily enter the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes and through the nose and mouth.
Encourage good dental health and hygiene in the classroom
Children have the motor skills necessary to do a fairly good job of brushing teeth on their own, though you may still want to take a quick turn until they are 6 or 7.
Young children deserve to live and play in safe environment, and it is the responsibility of every adult to help keep children safe. Preschool children should not be expected to actively protect themselves; however, it is important to offer children the opportunity to learn about safety as early as possible. Learning safe habits during early years may have lifelong benefits. Integrating safety education into the daily curriculum can help children learn and practice safety.
10 most important environmental concerns in keeping children safe:
- To protect against falls, stairways, windows and elevated surfaces
- Children should be protected from electrical outlets by using specifically designed outlets or safety caps
- Electrical cords should not be within the reach for children.
- Emergency phone numbers should be posted near each telephone (Poison control, fire department, emergency contact number of parents and others and the child’s doctor)
- To prevent poisoning , make sure all cleaning supplies and medications are in locked cupboards.
- Toys need to be safe by being age and developmentally appropriate for the group.
- Buckets and tubs containing water needs to be closely supervised and emptied when not in use since small amount of water can be a drowning hazard for young children.
- A daily safety check and maintenance is critical to keep equipment and the child’s environment safe.
- Children should be safe from other children who are aggressive.
- Children should be taught about good and bad touch.
Even if the environment meets safety guidelines, supervision is critical in ensuring child’s safety. The majority of injuries (60%) that occurs in early childhood settings are due to child’s behavior rather than environmental causes, for example, a child tripping and falling, colliding with objects, or one child pushing another as they go down a set of stairs.
Most of the states have established child-staff ratio assist in providing adequate supervision. It is critical that program maintain these ratios. In addition, it is important that adults actively monitor children. Many program require staff to maintain visual contact with children as they play. Low classroom strength can help children to feel a sense of privacy, while still allowing adults to adequately supervise children.
Although severe injuries are rare in early childhood setting, it is important to be alert and to immediately correct safety dangers. It is also important to assure children remain safe through adequate supervision.
The sense of safety and security, afforded by teachers provides children with responsibility. Keeping everyone safe and healthy should be a class effort, and everyone in the classroom, be it children , teacher or other staff should feel accountable for the overall health of the class.
While taking care of health, hygiene and safety of children , teachers needs to develop effective rules with the class. Remembering the rules are important and the best way to do that is actively teach the children.
- Class discussion : Talk about why we have rules. Talk about situations when the rules help us. Ask children to give examples.
- Act it out : Let children role play the rules.
- Play games and show the importance of having and following rules.
- Refer to the rules when children use challenging behavior. This will help teachers to stay positive with the children and redirect them to an appropriate behavior.
- Read scripted stories about the rules and class room safety and hygiene.
Remember having effective rules with regards to health, hygiene and safety, well designed environment, appropriate learning activities, and nurturing relationships reflect what we know about how young children learn.
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