The Year of Handwashing

It's the year of hand washing...ALL. THE. TIME!
How do you handle hand washing in your classroom? Being a teacher in a self contained early childhood classroom, my itty-bitties struggle with proper hand washing skills. In years past, I have tried singing, counting, using hand over hand assistance the whole time, or even standing over them and making sure they wash properly.
NONE OF IT WORKED. I wasn't teaching independence by being right over their shoulders. I wasn't teaching proper hand washing skills by walking away and letting them do it themselves. This year, I was bound to find a solution and, for the most part, I did! Now, I still have a few students who need me to direct them, but most of my class is able to wash their hands independently. I call that a teacher WIN!
So, what is the magic trick? It's this beautiful little timer (paired with a song and step by step picture cues) that was found rather cheap on Amazon.
Yes, it took some training to get the kiddos to understand to push the HAND button and not the tooth. And yes, I still sing a song while they wash because 20 seconds seems like a long time when you are just scrubbing your hands. So, we switch between 2 judging these lyrics, they were made up on the fly!
Tune: The Farmer in the Dell
We wash until it's red, we wash until it's red,
Hi ho my teacher said we wash until it's red.
The light is still green, the light is still green,
Hi ho my teacher said we wash until it's red.
Tune: Frère Jacques
Top and bottom, top and bottom, (rub front and back of hands)
In between, in between (rub between fingers)
Wash 'em, wash 'em, wash 'em, Wash 'em, wash 'em, wash 'em (rub all over)
Nice and clean, nice and clean" (rub all over)
I also hang this picture board next to the sink so the kiddos can refer back to it.
washing sign
Let's face it, hand washing seems like a daunting task. When we are just working on following one to two step directions, it can be HARD, so I hope this little trick helps you!

Lynn Wilke


About The Author

My name is Lynn Wilke. I live in Aviston, IL with my husband, Adam, and daughter, Aris. I am a self contained early childhood teacher at Highland Primary School. I have worked in a blended preschool setting previously but love the small group instruction that my self contained class offers. My kiddos are each unique in their own way and receive individualized attention daily. We use ABA to work through academic readiness, language building, fine motor, and many other skills throughout the day. I can't wait to share some of my classroom with you through this blog!


Ready for a Quick 5 Minute Conversation?