Classroom Handwashing Curriculum Objectives:
To introduce students to good hand hygiene behavior techniques of the 4 Principles of
To observe an increase in handwashing behavior.
To observe a reduction in T-Zone contact at home.
Reduced infectious disease episodes for the family, hence fewer days absent from school or
Reducing the risk of Epidemic hence Pandemic.
Help your students understand that Hand Hygiene Awareness is important for good health. Children can
learn to protect their own bodies, and we want them to develop a greater awareness of the role their
hands play in the spread of infectious disease. Children will mimic adult behavior, and with you
demonstrating repetitively the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness will teach students the correct behavior to
mimic. Yes, it is a fact that this program targets adults and using humor is critical to break through the
adult defenses to spark a change in their behavior, as well.
Discuss with students: Why do we wash our hands?
-Germs cause infections. They are also referred to as pathogens. They are not part of the
normal flora of the human gastro-intestinal tract that are good for our microbiome (See
addendum titled Definitions for Germs, Viruses, and Bacteria.)
Germs are tiny microorganisms that are bacteria, viral or fungus that cause and spread
The common cold is a respiratory virus. As is the Flu, COVID-19 and norovirus that causes
severe diarrhea. Handwashing is the first step to protect you from all viruses including
We don’t see bacteria or viruses like we see dirt, because they are almost invisible, but
they can be on your hands without you knowing it. Show the poster "Germs on Your
Streptococcus bacteria (round clumps of bacteria) cause nasty sore throats. So, then you
have to go to the doctor and will need to take an antibiotic to kill the bacteria in your
Staphylococcus bacteria are on our skin, which causes pimples or cysts to form.
Germs can be on every surface (point out where germs may be located: counter tops,
handrails, floors, desktops, doorknobs, pencils, etc.). However, you can’t see them as they
are microscopic (0.1 microns- 10 microns).
A sneeze is a blast of air that goes approximately 200 mph (Demonstrate Respiratory
Atomizer simulating a sneeze). It carries many bacteria or virus in a mist (aerosols and
droplets) that can spread on every surface around you if you don’t cover your cough or
sneeze. So, it is critical to cover your cough and sneeze to prevent spreading germs!
Discuss with students: When should we wash our hands?
1. Before eating.
2. After using the toilet.
3. After blowing or wiping your nose.
4. After you cough or sneeze into a tissue, not your hand please.
5. Upon arriving home from school (mall or church) to prevent bringing germs from
school (mall or church) into your home. Your home is a "safe zone" from outside
6. Upon arriving at school to prevent bringing germs from home to school. This helps
to protect the school by not introducing new germs picked up on the way to school
or from home.
7. After petting animals. Petting zoos are a haven for new germs. Simply wash your
hands and you are safe.
8. Depending on your families living circumstance there may be other opportunities to
discuss Hand Hygiene Awareness with your family. COVID-19 has prompted many
of us to talk about handwashing more often.
Demonstrate with students: “Action” and “Result”
This demonstration is an exercise to help the students increase their “hand awareness”, in
order to internalize that a simple touch of the hand on a surface can have a consequence,
knowing that for every action there is a reaction. Using a visual aid and repetition are key
to retention, as well. Below are a few examples that you can discuss with the students
which demonstrate an “Action” and then have them explain the “Result.”
Sneeze into your hand hand now has the germ
Open the door doorknob now has the germ
Someone else touches the
doorknob the germ is now on that person's hand
Person touches their eyes, nose,
they have now contaminated themselves
with the germ
The germ is in their own system they become sick
After discussing these Actions, you may repeat this activity having the students apply
Germ Potion to their hands will impart a lasting image on the children because they are
able to “see” those invisible germs! YUCK! This is truly helps them internalize WHY they
need to wash their hands at specific times. Next you teach the How To!
Demonstrate with students: How do we properly wash our hands?
1. Use SOAP AND RUNNING WATER.
2. Rub your hands vigorously for AT LEAST 20 SECONDS or more to be able to cover
All the surfaces of your hands.
3. Wash all surfaces including back of hands, wrists, between fingers, and under
fingernails. (Do not forget to use a nail brush.)
4. Rinse well - leaving soap on your hands will lead to drying and cracking.
5. Dry hands well with paper towel. Paper towels have been shown to remove an
additional 20% loosely attached germs.
6. TURN OFF THE FAUCET WITH THE PAPER TOWEL you used to dry your hands. This
prevents picking up the germs that are on the faucet that you placed on the faucet
when turning on. Under some circumstances you may need to use the paper towel
to open the bathroom door as it may have “invisible” germs on it from the previous
person, who did not handwash.
Discuss with students: Henry the Hand's 4 Principles of Hand Awareness
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands. (Use a tissue, back of your forearm, crook of your
elbow, sleeve and other sites, other than your hand for obvious reasons.)
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth. (T Zone)
Discuss with students: Respiratory Etiquette
Whenever you cough or sneeze, lots of droplets and aerosols that contain germs are
released into the air directly in front of you and suspend in the air traveling 3-6 feet, but in
some circumstances can travel 26 feet. So, "cover" that cough and sneeze! Sneeze into a
handkerchief, tissue or the crook of your elbow so germs don’t float into the air or in your
hand. Otherwise, hands then spread the infection to other surfaces and people. Your hands
become soiled even when using a tissue or handkerchief, so it is necessary to wash
When you feel a tiny tickle in your throat, it is a clue that you are about to sneeze, so you
can prepare for that sneeze.
Use the atomizer (spritzer bottle) to demonstrate the droplets from a cough or sneeze
showing how these "respiratory droplets" propelled into the air.
Discuss with students: Do not touch the T Zone
The T Zone is the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth which are the ONLY
portal of entry into the human body for ALL respiratory and gastro-intestinal diseases. If
you have germs on your hands, you can “plant” those germs into your eyes, nose, and
mouth "unconsciously" causing infections.
Imagine if you break this “unconscious habit” of touching the T Zone you may NEVER be
sick again from a respiratory virus, like COVID-19!
Keeping your hands and fingers away from the T Zone will stop introducing germs into your
body that can make you sick! Now this simple learned behavior will have a positive impact
on your personal health and wellness! However, you need to practice to perfect your hand
hygiene behavior. Changing behavior requires knowledge, awareness, action control and
facilitation of behavior at a minimum. And when you incorporate social influence, attitude,
self-efficacy and intention into the strategy will improve effectiveness.
Wearing Henry's Health Shield (T Zone protector) helps to demonstrate how many times
you try to touch your face which then increases your awareness so you can begin to re-
train your hand hygiene habit to keep fingers away from the T Zone. When in school you
can wear it during science or history class. You can then talk about the history of germ
discovery (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ignaz Semmelweis, John Snow or Louis Pasteur).
You may reward your students daily or weekly with a Champion Handwasher sticker, tattoo
or bookmark as positive reinforcement using the Classroom Handwashing schedule as a
In the Tool Kit there are reinforcement tools to help the message stick. A quick and easy
technique used by many teachers and parents is the “sniff test”: if the child’s hands smell
clean after leaving the bathroom they probably washed their hands, Try it and you will see
the instant feedback.
Germ Potion Experiment
Respiratory Etiquette Demo
Henry the Hand Activity Book:
Each page is its own lesson plan to be used daily or weekly.
Remember, every family should use Henry the Hand’s Home Weekly Handwashing Chart as
an effective self-teaching tool. Post the Classroom Weekly Handwashing Chart in the
classroom to help the peer group reinforce the behaviors. Peer pressure works all of us in
our formidable years!
Teachers, the Hand Awareness message needs to be reinforced. Repetition is the
most effective method for retention!
Make sure students take home copies of the Home Handwashing Schedule for everyone in
their family so the children can help the adults, as well! They are also available for free on
the website to download with many other posters and coloring books to print and give
away. Engaging the family in the same handwashing behavior change strategy is critical for
a successful outcome.
For more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org