Ahhhh…February. While the cold and flu season officially begins as early as October, it seems to really culminate during the month of February. Cold temperatures have forced children to be inside for months and the germs seem to be passed from one child to another. Sneezes, coughs, runny and snuffly noses have added to the noise level in my Montessori classroom.
We encourage the children to use whisper voices, but honestly, there is no such thing as a whispered sneeze. For the last few weeks, I’ve had at least one child tell me every day they don’t feel well enough to stay at school. Usually, a snack or a hug helps, though I have sent children home with 102F temperatures, stomach viruses, and bone-rattling coughing.
Your Montessori school should have an illness policy in place for parents to refer to when deciding whether or not to send a sick child to school. It’s important to know that illness policies are often dictated by a governing body, such as the board of education, or the childcare licensing board.
Staying Healthy in the Montessori Classroom
In the Montessori classroom, children as young as infants are taught the importance of good hand washing. This is especially true during cold and flu season. It’s said that the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy is to wash your hands.
Because the flu virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, it is imperative to teach young children to cover their mouths.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends disinfecting the classroom daily as a safeguard against the spread of disease. As I sit here, it looks like spring is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to opening the windows of both my home and my Montessori classroom to let in some fresh air to chase away the germs… just in time for pollen and spring allergies!
For more information and guidelines for the above, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. NAMC’s Upper Elementary program, includes a Health Sciences curriculum manual with a section on wellness. NAMC's Early Childhood Practical Life manual has a section on Social Graces and Courtesies, including How to Cough and Sneeze.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, February 28, 2008.