Sharing is something we all hope our kids learn. But in a school setting it comes with consequences. First graders at Treeline Elementary in Fort Myers are getting a lesson in hygiene.
“The program was called Germaine the Germ and the purpose is to teach kids about germs, hand washing and just health in general, because it’s really hard sometimes, staying healthy throughout the year. Especially at a young age,” says Julie Briggs, child advocate with Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Young children are known for being ‘touchy’, so almost everything in a classroom has the potential to spread germs.
“We don’t think about it either. It’s like one person gets a cold and everyone gets it. And then it’s kind of like OK for awhile and it will happen a month later,” says Lauren Wahrendorf, teacher at Treeline Elementary.
This program is designed to leave an impression, a mark, on students. In fact, a highlight is a demonstration using a glow lotion that shows up under UV light. Kids are able to see how germs spread from classmate to classmate.
“Them being able to do it and touch the ball and see the light with the germs, I definitely think they’re going to remember that,” says Wahrendorf.
“I think that really gets them thinking and I know I’ve heard from teachers after I leave for the next week or so they’re really conscious about really washing their hands, touching things. And being careful about those germs they’re spreading,” says Briggs.
Simple, yes - but studies show elementary schools can reduce colds and flu by teaching proper hand washing techniques. A 20-second scrub to wipe out a petri dish of possibilities.