Every lesson is best taught when it is followed by an example. This applies to everyone, but when children are concerned this is a primary method if we want the lesson to be learned instantly. No matter how hard the teachers want to explain a certain thing the best results are obtained when it is visually shown.
Jaralee Metcalf is an elementary teacher from Idaho who implemented this in her practice and she taught her pupils the most valuable lesson in life, regular hand washing.
This teacher is also a behavioral specialist in Idaho Falls Elementary School, and by a practical example she taught the youngest pupils the importance of washing hands with warm water and soap.
In wintertime most of her pupils were staying home because of the flu, and last winter was no different than the rest of them, but she decided that something needs to be done, and since she was aware that the main reason for spreading the flu in the classroom was not proper washing of hands, she initiated her project.
Her pupils are very young and could not understand how germs are being transferred from one child to another. But, she conducted an experiment and thus visually showing them how viruses and bacteria work. Namely, a few kids were asked to wash their hands, but with various levels of hand cleanliness and after that they touched 5 pieces of bread from the same loaf. Each piece of bread was put into an individual plastic bag and left to stay like that for one month.
Jaralee posted her experiment on her Facebook, and said: “We took fresh bread and touched it.” The interest of this post was enormous, and it went immediately viral, shared over 70K times.
Each piece of bread was rubbed from a specific surface, the first one was touched from the surface of all the classroom laptops, and the second piece wasn’t rubbed on anything and was immediately placed into a plastic bag. The third piece of bread was touched it with dirty unwashed hands by the whole class. After that, the children washed their hands with soap and warm water and like that touched the fourth piece. In the end, the children washed their hands with hand sanitizer and touched the fifth piece of bread.
These pieces of bread were set aside and after a month they were observed by all of them. Naturally, the piece of bread that was rubbed against the Chromebook was in extremely bad shape. The laptops are being regularly sanitized by the school, but the teacher decided to leave them unclean because of their experiment. This was a clear demonstration how one laptop can be infected with germs.
The piece that was in best condition was the fourth one that was touched with washed hands. This was an evident example for all children why they should wash their hands regularly with warm water and soap.
The third piece of bread that was touched with unwashed hands was in the worst shape. It was covered with plenty of mold growths that disgusted the children but showed them what dirty hands can do to your body.
Remember that the fifth piece was touched with sanitized hands, but this piece was not cleaned as you might think so, in fact it had a lot of bacteria as well. This was clear evidence that the conventional washing of our hands with soap and water is irreplaceable. The results of this project were posted on Facebook showing parents the importance of washing the hands properly. This project was highly welcomed by other schools and also by many families as a great example of what dirty hands can do to your body.
Nowadays, there is massive use of hand sanitizers, but this experiment is clear evidence that nothing can replace regular and proper hand washing. Make sure to practice this all the time and teach your children too as in these difficult times this is our only protection.