Handwashing programme in kindergarten: A pilot study.

Au, W.H., Suen, L.K.P., & Kwok, Y.L., (2010). Handwashing programme in kindergarten: A pilot study. Health Education, 110(1), 5-16.

Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of a structured programme on handwashing which has taken into account of the developmental stage of children. 

Design/methodology/approach– This is a pilot study using a structured handwashing programme as intervention. The intervention group (n 1⁄4 15) receives the structured education programme on handwashing in addition to their existing curriculum, whereas the control group (n 1⁄4 15) receives only the teaching content of their curriculum. The programme contains five teaching sessions delivered on a weekly basis. Storytelling, health education, games, experiments, and hands-on activities are planned. Outcome evaluations include the knowledge level and behaviours on handwashing. The behaviour compliance over time is also assessed after the programme. 

Findings– After the education programme, the knowledge level of students in both groups increased, but significant improvement in handwashing practice is observed only in the intervention group. A noticeable improvement in the handwashing practice of the experimental group is seen immediately after the programme, but the children seem to have difficulties in maintaining the habit. 

Research limitations/implications – The small sample size may limit the external validity of findings to other preschool institutions. Future replications of the study are needed with larger, representative samples.

Originality/value– The paper indicates that the knowledge and skills of proper handwashing of preschool children can be positively influenced by the use of a structured education programme. The results of the study suggest some implications for preschool educators, parents, and school health educators. 

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