My son started Prekindergarten a couple weeks ago (yay!). Coincidentally, we've been working on reducing his need to bite fingers (out of anxiety). This led to a couple of conversations with his new teacher and directors of his school, as my wife and I are looking for ways to help reduce this very frequent, challenging habit. It so happens, that his teacher is asking him to wash his hands very often during the day to reduce spreading germs. She's doing this as a result of him chewing fingers.
This all makes sense, because as a concerned Mom and Dad, we don't want him GETTING sick and we don't want him MAKING other kiddos sick. We also happen to have a newborn in the home (yay again!), so we're extra cautious about germs these days. We're parents who research, try, fail, research again, chat with other Moms and Dads, and hopefully find a solution to stopping germs that is good for our children. And as many of you parents out there know, it's a tough problem to crack.
So the hallway conversations with his school leaders about the extensive need to hand wash made me aware of two interesting things that I think parents will find compelling and even comforting about PreK and hand washing:
- I learned from the teacher that PreK curricula have classes and training about germs in school. Yep, the teachers go over where germs exist (door knobs, noses, hands, toys, etc...) and how to keep from spreading them via a formal set of teaching exercises for our children. Super cool. So in addition to learning math, spelling, etc... our children get an education on germs and how to avoid spreading them. And it gets better...
- I learned from the directors that PreK schools are evaluated on germ training and habits of their children as a part of accreditation. NAEYC mentions hand washing 28 times in their accreditation standards. Here is an excerpt from one of their more detailed assessments:
Notice that it even talks about how long the children should be observed washing their hands and what areas of the hands are to be washed.
So as a parent who is concerned about germs being transferred from my child playing with toys, touching food, etc... while at school, I know we can't protect our children from all the possible ways of getting sick while in school, especially when they stick their fingers in their mouths. But as Dad struggling to find help, I am pleased to see our schools and accreditation institutions are actively involved.
As for TROBO, we also are trying to make learning about germs fun and memorable, to help our kiddos help themselves. Out of pure coincidence, about a month ago, I decided to resurrect the first possible story (after our honey story) I wrote for TROBO, called "What is Snot?". I think my son's perpetually finger biting motivated me to publish this story.
I drew it this month and published it a couple of days ago. You can now download it on our iOS app. Here's an article on what the story covers. Should you get it and enjoy it, I'd appreciate any feedback you have. I can always add more pages, if enough people suggest something.
Until then if you're a parent looking for ways to help your children reduce the spread of germs, know that many folks have your back. "Moms (AND Dads), This one's for you!!" :]