“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, this 17th century quote carries more meaning for us now than ever before. We are dealing with a Pandemic, as a collective, the entire globe is struggling to keep the economy stable while battling with COVID-19, a virus that cannot be contained. Every sector has taken a hit including the Education sector worldwide. Schools, daycare centers, colleges, and universities have all gone under lock down.
The impact of this current adversity on schools worldwide can be seen in the graph published by UNESCO:
UNESCO’s figures refer to learners enrolled at pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels of education as well as at the tertiary level. 1,379,344,914 students or 80 percent of the world’s learners are now being kept out of educational institutions by country-wide closures.
We hope that the world succeeds and battling the Corona virus and life can go back to normal and all the children can resume schooling. To ponder upon, to a certain extent COVID-19 or the Corona virus has made the world a little more serious towards personal hygiene and It certainly changes how we look at hygiene practices not only in our daily life but in our institutions.
Let’s look back
You have been a school student at some time in the past. What were the school health components of services in your time?
You might have various memories of events. Your classroom teacher might have checked your hygiene. You might have learned face washing, brushing, etc. Someone might have reminded you to use the toilet and wash your hands afterward. Moving forward to current times, there is a dire need for health-related policies in schools which include basic hygiene practices, safe water supply, and overall sanitation .
Here is a little insight on how we practice hygiene at Candy Club School
Candy Club is a one of a kind forest school in Pakistan associated with Forest School Association.org & North American Association of Environmental Education – NAAEE .The main goals of forest school in primary age children include encouraging curiosity and exploration with all of the senses, empowering children in the natural environment, and encouraging spatial awareness and motor development.
Our first and foremost focus is on the overall health of a child. Children’s hygiene needs change dramatically during the early childhood stage, from something caregivers do for their children to something children learn to do for themselves. It’s a collective effort on part of school and parents to foster these healthy habits.
What we do and how we do it
At Candy Club School, hygiene practices are incorporated into the daily routine by designating a block of 25 minutes completely dedicated to hygiene & we term it as ‘Hygiene Rush’ & happens daily. Children, staff & the facilitators all engage & model health and hygiene awareness. Following are the practices included in the weekly time table of our students:
Oral hygiene – practicing proper ways of brushing, gargling & other habbits related to maintain oral hygiene.
Laundry – washing clothes and toys as well as keeping water conservation in mind using the very own ‘Red-Well’ & ‘TinTin’ the water pump.
Hair & nails – teaching children how to cut & groom nails, hair grooming, as a weekly process.
Shoe polishing – dust, wipe and polish shoes.
Forest cleaning – picking out dead leaves and trash.
Children don’t learn by what they are told. Children learn by examples and watching adults practice the same skills.
Why we do it
Improved Attendance: School hygiene is a determinant of overall school attendance. This is true for both students and staff members, who attend school less frequently because of illness or a general distaste for attending a school that isn’t cleaned properly or that isn’t hygienic.
A building that isn’t hygienic can collect a significant amount of bacteria over time. Considering the number of people who go in and out of schools, this can be especially dangerous and can lead to sickness and illness for everyone involved. Candy club premises are sprayed with anti-bacterial disinfectants every morning to keep germs at bay as we believe school absences due to sickness can hinder the learning process.
Motivation to Learn: When students and staff are exposed to an environment that is clean and sanitary, they will be more motivated to learn. This is because the overall aesthetic of any classroom, building, or room, can affect overall morale and can discourage students from wanting to put effort into a school that isn’t willing to put effort into them.
The School Environment: The aesthetic and physical environment of your school is especially important regarding the physiological and psychological development of students and staff members.
A school that is both safe and healthy should be hygienic, meaning there shouldn’t be any exposure to excessive bacteria, chemicals, or pollution.
Going forward: Being a forest school, we take extra measures to ensure the health and safety of students and staff at all times. Come rain or shine, our team caters to hygiene and detailed deep cleaning before and after sessions. Children do not only practice personal hygiene, but they are also conscious about the cleanliness and environmental health be it plants or the candy club pets.
Going forward, Candy club will continue to practice its sanitation and disinfection practices, providing a clean and nurturing environment for your young ones.
— Nuvaira Dhedhi
Early Childhood Educator