Going by a method borrowed from Jaralee Metcalf, a behavioural specialist from Idaho Falls Elementary School, we at KLAY Schools have in place as part of our curriculum an experiment to help the kids to understand the effects of an infection. Children are asked to touch the wall, floor, mat, chair etc. and touch a slice of bread and a piece of apple without washing their hands. The bread and apple were left for two weeks to observe the process of how germs spread.
What’s more important is the result of the original experiment conducted by Jaralee Metcalf. Several kids with various levels (as shown in the picture) of hand cleanliness were asked to touch 5 pieces of white bread that were taken from the same loaf, at the same time. Then, they put the bread in individual plastic bags to observe what happens over the course of one month.
The first piece was rubbed on all of the classroom laptops. The second one was a control piece — it wasn’t touched, it was placed immediately in the plastic bag and labelled “Fresh & untouched.” The third piece of bread was touched by the whole class using unwashed hands. For piece #4 the whole class washed their hands with warm water & soap and, again, touched the slice. And for bread piece #5, they cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer and then touched it.
The only slice of bread that didn`t have the obvious bacteria on it was example #4. It was the one that was touched by hands that were just washed with warm water & soap, which clearly showed the children why they should wash their hands often. It also proved that handwashing had better benefits than using a sanitizer. CDC also recommends when and how to use a hand sanitizer.
The World Health Organization recommends washing hands as the key precautionary measure to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.