Primary school teacher's brilliant handwashing hack goes viral

Photo: Facebook / Mrs Woods 3rd Grade
Photo: Facebook / Mrs Woods 3rd Grade 

An American primary school teacher has found a genius way to make sure her students are washing their hands properly - just by using a rubber stamp!

Shauna Woods, who teaches year three in Missouri tells Essential Baby that she was concerned about spike in illness at this time of year due to viruses and the common cold, even before the current coronavirus pandemic took hold.  

"It's a fact of life," she said of children getting sick. "Many kids are in close quarters, interacting with one another all day. They share many things, including germs."

Aside from teaching kids about the importance of not spreading germs, Woods knows how detrimental it can be to a child's education when they miss multiple days of school due to being unwell.

They always had access to a sink, hand sanitiser, and disinfectant wipes at all times, but they weren't being used as frequently as they should be.

"Let's be honest, some students' biggest worry is if they'll get to recess on time!", she acknowledges.

"So I wanted a way to entice students to wash their hands more frequently," she explained to Essential Baby. "I tried to think of a way that might promote hygiene in the classroom to try and minimise our sicknesses and absentees."

It turns out the answer was in front of her all along!

Photo: Facebook / Mrs Woods 3rd Grade

Photo: Facebook / Mrs Woods 3rd Grade

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"I've had a 'Mrs. Woods' stamp for years and have used it to stamp my classroom books" the primary school teacher explained.

Woods told her students to wash their hands at the start of the day and then see her for a stamp, telling them that they would receive a prize at the end of the school day if they had washed their hands enough to fade the ink.

The drawcard to this making the kids psyched about the handwashing challenge?

"They were sold when I told them prizes were involved" Woods said.

"Providing a visual reminder and incentive has boosted their hygiene regiment" she explains. "I even joined in on the fun and put a stamp on my hand to be their positive role model!"

Woods posted her 'handwashing hack' to Facebook where it quickly took off, being shared over 72,000 times and being liked over 38,000, with thousands applauding the idea.

"I need to try this at work. I'm noticing that adults are worse than kids!!!" one user wrote.

Others praised the teacher for different approach to the satiation. "Kudos to Mrs. Woods for thinking outside of the box!", another user added.

"This is great," agreed another. "Kids are kids and they run, play, touch everything, put things in their mouths, wipe boogies without tissues and hardly ever wash their hands unless instructed to do so. This is a great way to remind them and encourage them to wash the germs away. Way to go!!!"

Although not all users were enthusiastic about the idea.

"But yet the stamp itself is going from hand to hand without being washed," one commented. Although people were quick to reassure the primary school teacher that the alcohol in the ink would kill any bugs.

Obviously, Woods hopes that the increase in hygiene will continue once the stamp challenge is over.

"The ultimate goal, is to get to a point where it's second nature and a routine for students to wash their hands multiple times throughout our day," Woods says. "Whether it's flu season or not!"