Have you ever cleaned up paint from one table, turned around and found little handprints all over another? Do you ever feel like you are washing your hands 10,000 times a day? Perhaps you have an immune system like a vault, and never get sick! So, why is it so important to follow through with the daily cleaning, sanitizing, health checks and practices while working with children? Not only does cleaning and sanitizing limit the amount of germs spread, it creates positive brain connections to healthy living.
Why are Health Practices Important?
A large part of your role throughout the day will consist of cleaning and sanitizing every area before and after every activity, to keep yourself, the children, families and others entering your room, safe and healthy. Through these opportunities, teachers can build on a child’s independence. Teaching self-help skills, learning ways to put toys away and working together to “clean up everywhere, everybody do their share” are fun experiences to learn new skills.
- Read more about Teaching Self-Help Routines.
- Read more about Ways to Encourage Self-Help Skills in Children.
Let’s Take a Look!
Good handwashing protects against the spread of many illnesses, from the common cold to more serious illnesses like meningitis, flu, Hepatitis A and COVID-19. More than 22 million children miss school days each year. However, by following a consistent daily routine, children learn the need to wash their hands after outdoor play, before eating and after art. A case study done on 6,080 children in Detroit showed that those who practiced correct hand washing habits throughout the day, experienced 20% fewer absences due to illness. The developmental and educational opportunities that children have access to in their early years have a lasting impact on their health as adults.
Read more about How to Teach Children About Germs
For children with food allergies, providing a safe and nurturing environment at the program requires planning and effort on the part of the school and families. Children with known allergies should have an emergency care plan in place, with detailed instructions about which food(s) the child is allergic to and a plan of what to do if an allergic reaction occurs. It is your responsibility to be knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and have a plan, if needed. Accommodations for food allergies should be made for children with allergies, and be included on the written health plan. Know your policies around administration of medication and training for such emergencies.
Read more about Food Allergies in Early Childhood
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Just as important, cleaning and sanitizing tables, shelves and other surfaces will drastically reduce the spread of germs within your classroom. Each classroom or in-home program should have a daily completed cleaning checklist and routine prepared for children during transitions, to make cleaning up and washing hands fun!
Read more about Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting Frequently.
Cultivating Family Relationships
Healthy practices don’t just apply to the classroom environment. By establishing strong relationships with families, there is a willingness to share information. Families are more engaged with reviews of a child’s individual progress, revising goals, tracking changes at home or in a child’s health plan, and adjusting strategies on an ongoing basis.
Read more about Ways to Welcome Families to Your Classroom.
As you grow in the knowledge of health practices and your program’s policies, the confidence in understanding your role in children’s health will flourish. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your research and attend training. By providing a healthy and nurturing place to play, children are engaged and ready to learn.
Working with children can be challenging, rewarding, and let’s face it…. Stressful! But with confidence, proven techniques and strategies you can start each day with the knowledge and understanding ready to succeed.
Join us each session as we tackle a new area of professional development. Perfect for all educators to build confidence and strategies to support their work every day.
Schedule and Topics
- Monday, December 5, 2022, 1 pm EST- New staff, LOADS of nerves
- Monday, December 12, 2022, 1 pm EST- Health, Safety and YOU!
- Monday, December 19, 2022, 1 pm EST- The Importance of Play
- Monday, January 9, 2023, 1 pm EST- Scheduling Routines
- Monday, January 23, 2023, 1 pm EST- 100 Languages of Children
- Monday, January 30, 2023, 1 pm EST- Oh Me, Oh My! Circle time has gone Awry!
- Monday, February 6, 2023, 1 pm EST- Hot Buttons: How will YOU React?
- Monday, February 13, 2023, 1 pm EST- Time Management and YOU
- Monday, February 27, 2023, 1 pm EST- YOU Can Stop the Burn out: Work-Life Balance for Child Care Professionals
FARE. (2022). Food allergies in early childhood. Food Allergy Research and Education. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/food-allergies-early-childhood
Health.gov (2022). Early childhood development and education. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/healthypeople/priority-areas/social-determinants-health/literature-summaries/early-childhood-development-and-education
NAEYC. (2019). Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting frequency table. National association of education of young children. https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/accreditation/early-learning/clean_table.pdf
National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. (2022). Healthy children are ready to learn. Head Start: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/healthy-children-ready-learn.pdf
The President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2022). Lifelong health. Center on the Developing Child: Harvard University. https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/lifelong-health/