How to Best Teach Hygiene (Hand Washing) For Each School Grade

posted Mar 7, 2014, 7:48 AM by Todd Fox   [ updated Sep 23, 2016, 2:34 PM ]
Information for K-5 Grades, Health Classes and First-Aid Lessons
Scope and Sequence: Education/School Level

Grade Levels 

Kindergarten and Pre-School 

Since lessons for this age will be an introduction to hygiene training for all the students (and it should be assumed that minimal training has been conducted at home), all information, activities, and games should be focused on the simple tasks that they should be completing every day. Although they may not have a full grasp on the concepts of illness and disease, they can benefit greatly by having a hygiene schedule set up (washing hands, washing areas, etc.). Simple germ pictures are effective to hang up as a reminder. 

1st Grade 

A normal hygiene schedule should be established (i.e. wash up before class, before and after recess sessions, before and after the restroom, before and after lunch, after class is over, etc.). Activities are recommended to remain simple. Use simple germ games and activities that emphasize that germs are bad and clean hands are good without going into a lot of in depth reasoning. Posters, signs and reminders need to be picture oriented rather than message oriented.  Introduce Glo Germ (simulation germs in a fluorescent powder or fluorescent gel form) and use a UV black light to show the germs on their hands.

2nd Grade 

More responsibility in hygiene can be expected at this age. In addition to a normal hygiene schedule (i.e. wash up before class, before and after recess sessions, before and after the restroom, before and after lunch, after class is over, etc.), other rules can be established. Institute higher standards for coughing, sneezing, coming to school sick, etc. Games and activities are to be slightly challenging. 

3rd Grade 

A normal hygiene schedule should be established (i.e. wash up before class, before and after recess sessions, before and after lunch, after class is over, etc.). Up to their level, talk about epidemics and widespread effects about not maintaining high levels of hygiene. Point out the domino effect and that it only takes one to spread an illness (personal responsibility). Word searches and word games are appropriate activities. 

4th Grade 

Students are at an age that the teacher should me more specific about diseases and illnesses. Hence, introduce and discuss illnesses and individual germs (flu, MRSA, H1N1, etc.) that have been reported at the school, reported in the community and are in the general news. Memorization of the viruses/germs and effects should be expected (see the OUTFOX game Who Am I?

5th Grade 

At this point, students should be familiar with types of viruses or germs that threaten their health at school and home. It is recommended to drive home the “gross factor” and emphasize social responsibility of hygiene and health. This age group will respond better when they can see the social negatives of poor hygiene. Fill in the blank and matching tests are perfect for this grade level.   This grade really understands Glo Germ and is fascinated with being grossed out.  So make the germ training fun!

Health Classes 

The OUTFOX lessons can be conducted in conjunction with discussions dealing with drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health related topics. Memorization of viruses and their effects will arouse interesting discussions and the “gross out” factor. Fill in the blank and matching tests are good activities as well as the “Who Am I?” game. 

First Aid Courses 

Infection control and hygiene lessons should form a foundation off of which all first aid should be taught. Meaning, infection control and hygiene play an important part in every emergency situation. The OUTFOX lessons and activities should direct a conversation toward the long term effects of disease exposure in a medical career and in emergency situations. Infection control should be practiced with every procedure or certification (CPR, vitals, IVs, wound care, blood pathogens, (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment, etc.) 


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