Teachers everywhere this time of year have a lot on their minds. Though it’s just mid-July, and we’re all still enjoying summer, many school districts return to the classroom in August. Right about now, educators are creating lesson plans, classroom design ideas, and preparing for a new set of students for the coming school year. Not to mention, feeling somewhat eager to get back into a routine many teachers haven’t experienced since early 2020.
Following a difficult year that presented incredible struggles, including unprecedented educational challenges and shuttered school buildings, teachers are ready to get back to reaching their students face-to-face. This new chapter of returning to the classroom for a fresh start brings with it a great deal of excitement, as well as a bit of anxiety, for educators and childcare providers alike.
Most would agree the benefits of in-person, classroom instruction far surpass any inherent difficulties or drawbacks in a post-COVID world. But as any educator or childcare provider knows, when kids of any age get together, viruses and other sickness-causing germs are all around! Kids generally are not known for having exceptional handwashing hygiene and cleanliness practices, so it’s up to the adults in charge (in this case teachers), to reinforce the importance of handwashing at every turn.
Hey kids, wash your hands! And don’t touch your face!
If there’s one thing the Coronavirus pandemic has driven home, it’s the critical importance of keeping your hands clean and away from your face. That’s easier said than done in a classroom full of kids – particularly younger children. Even as pandemic-related restrictions continue to lift, our awareness of the importance of good handwashing technique is more profound than ever.
According to research published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine, handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infection by 16-to-21 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper handwashing also reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-to-40 percent. The CDC recommends actively washing your hands for a minimum of 20-seconds.
As teachers prepare for the upcoming start of school in the fall, building a handwashing routine into the mix is a great way to help reinforce healthy habits AND keep everyone from getting sick! This school year, make sure the Time Timer WASH Touchless Handwashing Timer is in your corner when you’re reinforcing the importance of cleanliness in the classroom. This amazing little timer provides visual cues for each stage of the handwashing process. (Yes, according to the CDC there is a process.) In this new normal we’re all venturing toward, it will make the mundane a bit more fun for you – and the kids! They’ll learn a whole lot, too.
What is Time Timer WASH?
This amazing little timer is a touchless, visual handwashing timer designed to keep you focused on the task at hand (pun intended). This brilliant timer sits easily in a teacher’s hand, on a ledge in the bathroom (home or school), and even has a suction cup allowing users to attach it to a mirror near a sink. Time Timer WASH helps students track three stages of handwashing in a touchless, visual fashion. The vivid, digital blue indicators on its face make the timer easy to read and understand for students of all abilities. Its music makes the process more entertaining, as well.
How does Time Timer WASH work?
A Time Timer WASH cycle lasts for a total of 30 seconds and breaks hand washing into three simple steps:
- Soap (5 seconds)
- Scrub (20 seconds)
- Rinse (5 seconds)
Simply start by holding your hand in front of the Timer. No touching needed! Music and sound can be switched off and on. The sound can be used to help reinforce steps, or may be operated silently for sensitive children. This video illustrates Time Timer WASH, along with the music and sounds it uses. We also encourage you to download Time Timer’s FREE Handwashing Activity Guide created especially for educators (and parents)! Developed by Dr. Eva Phillips, Ed.D., a longtime educator and early childhood advocate, this guide features many creative ways to learn facts, play games, and sing songs around handwashing routines in the classroom.
Ideas for using Time Timer WASH during the school day
If you’re lucky enough to have a small bathroom or sink inside your classroom, students will see Time Timer WASH every time they step up to wash their hands. Place it on an adjacent shelf or countertop. The timer also has a nail hole on the back, so you may hang it on a wall, too.
Like most schools, you likely have shared bathroom facilities in hallways. One idea is to appoint a “bathroom leader” (this works particularly well with younger children) who is “in charge” of reminding everyone to use the posted Time Timer WASH next to each sink.
Actively encourage your school’s leadership to buy a few Time Timer WASH timers for each bathroom – it is a great positive reinforcement for all “Healthy at School” initiatives. COVID-related grant funds may even support this endeavor, as well. And don’t forget the teacher’s lounge and faculty restrooms – a Time Timer WASH is important to use there, too.
And remember to download Time Timer’s FREE Handwashing Activity Guide created especially for educators. It is sure to help set the stage for teaching kids the importance of better hand hygiene and great overall wellness habits.