Every year, in partnership with meningococcal awareness organisation Amanda Young Foundation, Goodstart Wonthella runs a program dedicated to health, hygiene and stopping the spread of germs.
Centre director Danielle Waterson said the annual program highlights all the practices the centre encourages throughout the year and gives educators the opportunity to reinforce the germ prevention message through a fun program of activities.
“Through our partnership with the Amanda Young Foundation we are sent a range of new resources, including Melrose the Mare stories, activity plans, stickers and information sheets,” she said.
“We like to do a concentrated child friendly program around this time of the year to reiterate all of the germ prevention practises the children learn about all year and really get them thinking about all the things they can do to stop the spread of germs.
“It is really important for children to learn hygiene practices from a young age and we think our dedicated annual program helps to reinforce all the things they should do daily, like washing hands, using tissues and coughing and sneezing into their elbows.”
The program is centred on a picture book, featuring Melrose the Mare who talks to the children about germs and how to stop them spreading.
This year’s story is about the battle of the bugs and how Melrose the Mare and her friends can stamp out bad bugs.
To reinforce the hygiene message the centre also has a special visit from staff at the local hospital who will run a session about germs and how easily they can spread.
The session includes an activity where the children use an infrared light to see the bacteria on their hands before and after they are washed.
“Our annual program is always really successful as it gets the children thinking and talking about important hygiene practises and taking the messages home to their families,” Ms Waterson said.
“Our parents have been really impressed with how the children are demonstrating all the skills they have learned and they’ve told us our program is great because it has started conversations within families as the children talk about all the things they’ve learned.”
To help the children practice all of their hygiene skills the centre has set up dedicated self-help areas which reinforce the hygiene message and encourage the children to help themselves when they need tissues or to wash their hands.
“Throughout the week, we also focus on and reiterate other health related skills like encouraging children to apply their own sunscreen and make healthy food choices,” Ms Waterson said.