By Heather Fiscus
It is the fateful “Achoo!” that allows for the preschool saying, “If you sneeze, cover please!” Whether it is Spring time allergies or the dreadful flu season, the preschool children at The Children’s Workshop in South Dennis are very prepared to handle an onset of germs.
We began in early October teaching about how germs can spread from one child to another. During circle time, we sat in a large circle. I had sprinkled a large amount of glitter on a pan and placed my hands in it. When I removed my hands, they were completely covered with, what we call, the preschool plague. I proceeded to tell my class that glitter, just like germs, can be passed from one friend to another until everyone has the germs on their hands. I then shook hands with the child to the right of me and he shook hands with the child next to him. This cycle continued until all the way around our circle until the child on the left of me had glitter on her hands too. The children all looked at their hands as I continued talking, “Now we all have the germs on our hands! The only way to get rid of these germs is to
wash our hands with soap and water, and then dry our hands with a paper towel.” The children all took turns washings and drying their hands. When everyone had returned to the circle, we compared our hands. The over whelming verdict was that the germs were all gone!
Ever since performing this experiment, we continue to wash our hands frequently to rid ourselves of the germs that constantly linger in a preschool classroom. We wash our hands before and after we eat, after blowing or wiping our noses, after using the bathroom, and after we come in from outside. The children have become adept at catching a friend when he or she needs to go wash their hands. I often catch my students repeating the phrase, “We are Safe! We Wash Our Hands!”
This has helped my students to become more aware of their bodies, what it means to be sick, and what it may take to help a friend or family member feel better. I frequently see my students run over and give a hug or a pat on the back if they notice a friend is not feeling well. By doing this, they are demonstrating a growing empathy that we love to encourage here at The Children’s Workshop.
Heather Fiscus is the lead teacher of the Preschool Once classroom at The Children’s Workshop in South Dennis. She
I don't know about you, but when I go out to public places, especially the grocery store with my son it seems as if people like to gravitate towards us. Lately, it seems as if it happens in slow motion like a scene out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or the Zombie Apocalypse. The only difference is that the zombies are not after me, no they are after MY baby! They want to touch him, pet him, stroke him, kiss him, play with him. It's as if they crave the innocent life force deep within my child's soul.
I have tried several tricks: wearing him in a carrier, keeping him in the carseat with a blanket over him, etc. Nothing works. I researched a few ways to discourage the touching though:
"She's irresistible, isn't she? I know it's hard to not touch, but I would rather you say 'Hi' without handling her."
"My baby's a little shy. Would you mind backing off a bit?"
"Feel free to look, but I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't touch."
"UH-OH! You should really go see a doctor, he's SUPER contagious right now. But only from direct contact. Since people aren't supposed to touch other people's babies, no one should be at risk."
Start "petting", stroking, or touching their socks, arms, mouth, head etc and then when they look shocked: "OH! Should I have asked first?" and use sanitizer on your hands.
I have heard stories from my friends of people reaching in thru a car window at the gas station to touch the baby, reaching thru a playpen gate to touch not only the baby but his toys and swing. Yes, we are very proud of our little ones and we appreciate the compliments that they are adorable, cute, beautiful, and handsome. We know! We made them and we did a darn good job! However, our babies are still new to this world and are not always ready for the bombardment of germs and other micro critters that live on people. Even if someone touches the baby's foot, that foot is later going to go right into their mouth, making the germs' job ten times easier at invading the new environment. Sometimes I can even hear the little germs yell with glee as they slide on inside to take up a new residence. Now for those of you who think well germs are no big deal, what about the fact that this is a random person walking up to your child and touching them? When was the last time you walked up to a random person and started stroking their head? I haven't done that ever and I would be probably screaming for help if someone did that to me in the grocery store.
The primary culprits tend to be the elder population. I understand it probably makes them feel younger and gives them hope. After all that is what babies symbolize to many: HOPE! Hope for the future, hope for the innocence to last, hope for dreams to come true, etc. I think as we get older we learn so much more about the world and how it works and we long for the days of our youth when we were innocent. Our biggest worry then was if we didn't get a popsicle after dinner or if we didn't get a story before bedtime. We didn't know of evil in the world, that didn't exist, except in stories where the good guy always won! I try to remind myself that these people are getting a little more joy in their day because they got to see my son's radiant smile, but please don't touch or at least ask so I can politely tell you that I appreciate your interest but no. Who knows maybe when I am older, I will see an infant in the store and want to touch him or her, but I won't because it is not polite, but I will make silly faces in the hopes of getting the baby to smile back at me so I can recapture a simpler time ;)
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