Lesson on handwashing

In these unprecedented times with COVID-19, there was never a more relevant time to give Havvie a lesson on handwashing. We’ve been practicing handwashing since Havvie was around 18 months old at the sink with a handwash dispenser as part of her morning routine. I decided though it was time to take it further and do a dedicated lesson.

It helps that Havvie is in a period where she is immensely interested in water play so there was no real enticement needed. I used the traditional method Maria Montessori used during her time when sinks didn’t exist.

This is really easy to replicate at home. All you need is a bowl, a water pouring vessel, a soap dish with soap and a towel for drying. I actually prefer this method because there are some natural limits in play. There’s a limited amount of water and soap to work with so there is less wastage of water than from a tap or soap from a soap dispenser. We can take this work outside too so there is no concern of cleaning up when it inevitably gets messy.


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I found myself placing very few limits and not having to say no to things as often which I loved. The only limit I had to place was that Havvie couldn’t pick up the bowl and dump the water. When she was done I poured the water on our lawn so again minimal wastage. We had a larger uncluttered space to work with so Havvie was able to explore to her hearts content.


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The lesson was a short one consisting of four steps.

  1. Pour the pitcher of water into the bowl.
  2. Pick up the soap, scrub your hands and return to the soap dish.
  3. Wash your hands in the bowl.
  4. Wipe your hands with the towel when done.

We didn’t quite get to the fourth step because Havvie was having way too much fun as you can see here. At the same time I could see the learning taking place as she was repeating the steps shown. There seems to be very few things we can control at the moment so we’re thankful that we can practise skills that are under our control.

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