Top ten tips for staying healthy in the preschool classroom

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 30, 2010

in Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers

It’s that time of year again, time for teachers and students to start getting sick that is.  You don’t have to wait for cold and flu season to officially begin, illness can strike at any time in the classroom, and it loves the beginning of the school year.  One of the most difficult aspects of teaching is staying healthy enough to actually teach, especially in an early childhood classroom where germs can spread like wildfire.

I was sick constantly the first five years I taught, I thought the endless cycle of illness would never end.  Eventually, after I was sure I wouldn’t survive my next bout of strep, bronchitis, or stomach flu I wised up and started getting serious about my health as a teacher.  I implemented several safety precautions consistently and as a result I am sick less often and my job is more enjoyable.

Here is my top 10 list of tips for staying healthy in the classroom:

  1. Flu Shot- I get one every year.
  2. Lysol all tables, desks, surfaces, and door knobs daily.
  3. Wipe telephone and computer keyboard with alcohol wipes weekly or after anyone else uses them.
  4. Never use the same tissue box as the students, place a separate box of tissue in a location that is out of the student’s reach.
  5. Teach students to cough in their elbows and not their hands.
  6. Never use student pencils, crayons, or scissors; wear an apron and keep your own writing tools inside.
  7. Never touch your face during the day at school, don’t rub your eyes, nose, scratch etc- it’s a hard habit to break but it is very important to your health.
  8. Drink plenty of water daily; staying hydrated is crucial to your health.  Teachers can become dehydrated easily because we are constantly on the go and looking after lots of little people.
  9. Wash your hands and arms up to your elbows as soon as you get home from school with hot water and plenty of soap. This will prevent you from bringing any germs home from school that might make family members sick.
  10. Change your clothes when you get home so you don’t spread germs from school around your house.

What are your tricks for avoiding illness in the classroom?

About the Author: Vanessa Levin’s journey in the field of early childhood education has spanned two continents, three states, eighteen years and many illnesses. Since 2001 Vanessa has provided the early childhood community with an invaluable resource through her popular and helpful website, Pre-K Pages.

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