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2021 Service-Learning Symposium: Handwashing in Preschoolers

Presentation Details

Handwashing in Preschoolers

Authors: Brooke Maloy, Esha Parker, Karoline Pridgeon, Kelsey Park, Kimberly Woods, Lauren Simmons, and Tiffany Finn

Faculty Supervisor: Beverly Rowe, MSN, CNE, RN

Community Partner: FACES Pre-K Program


Our group was given the opportunity to educate and promote hand hygiene in preschoolers. We worked with our local FACES preschool. The age group that we were educating ranged from 3 to 5 years old. Considering our audience’s ages, we wanted our project to be fun, engaging, and creatively appealing to their developmental level in order to teach handwashing in a way that would be fun. Our group created a 20-minute video that contained three demonstrations that showed the importance of thoroughly and adequately washing our hands to get rid of germs. The first demonstration included bread that we used to show how germs transfer from our hands to other surfaces, such as the foods we eat. In the second demonstration, we used black pepper and soap. Once our hands washed with soap touched the pepper bowl, the pepper was repelled away while soap-free hands collected the pepper. Lastly, our third demonstration included paint, which we used to represent soap to show the children the proper ways to wash our hands, and how if we rush, we can miss areas leaving germs behind.
Overall, it taught our group how important it is to know the community you are trying to educate and do your research. Not everyone learns or retains information the same. And how you present information can either deter or grab the attention of your audience. I believe that the service-learning project allowed us to meet our learning outcomes because we were able to experience firsthand how different communities, different age groups, and different cultures can require you to think critically to present the information a certain way. And how you should be aware of various barriers such as knowledge deficit because it changes what that community may need from you.
The information we learned in our academic course, for example, the different development stages of children. Played a significant role in implementing our project because we had a better understanding of what different concepts preschoolers could grasp at their age level and how we had to be simple, short, and clear with our terminology for them to follow along with the handwashing education provided. Also, we know how they enjoy bright colors and music, so we were able to incorporate that into the video as well. This ultimately allowed us to be able to serve our targeted community better, and going forward; they will be equipped and be encouraged to continue to practice proper hand hygiene. As for us nursing students, the experience will better prepare us in the clinical setting when we are caring for children; we can look back on this project and will be able to communicate and care for them therapeutically.