Health, safety, and nutrition are closely connected with each other. When children are healthy and fed, they can play, learn, and fully enjoy their childhood. On the other hand, sickness, malnutrition leads to “fatigue, diminished alertness, growth and academic failure”, which can disrupt the children’s mood and be an obstacle to their performance in school. Thus, it is crucial for teachers to recognize the first signs of illnesses, which can be done by conducting daily health checks.
Monitoring children’s health status and taking immediate action in case of health troubles can reduce the negative influence these illnesses would otherwise have on children’s mood and growth. Moreover, daily health checks also provide a brilliant opportunity for educating children on healthy practices. The question is: what topics would be appropriate for teachers to discuss with children during daily health checks?
First of all, the choice of the topic depends on the age of the children. It is doubtful that preschoolers would understand stress management or sexual education. However, it would be more appropriate for a teacher to provide knowledge on hygiene and healthy nutrition. During a daily health check, in a quiet area of the classroom, a teacher can include these topics in dialogue with a child. At first, a teacher conducts observation from head to foot, checking general appearance, if eyes are red or puffy, if the throat is red, etc.
While inspecting a child, a teacher can “monitor school-age children to make sure that they brush and floss daily”. Then a teacher can explain in a simple and playful way why it is important to keep such a routine (to prevent mean germs that cause cavities from spreading). Furthermore, to make sure children have good personal hygiene, a teacher should talk to them about washing their hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, and after returning from the outside.
Teachers can choose more advanced topics, such as proper nutrition. Nutrition has “a significant impact on their behavior and cognitive development”. For example, a teacher can begin by sharing information about healthy eating, such as why it is important to have breakfast every morning (so the body has enough strength to play throughout the day). Besides, parents should be encouraged to bring nutritious snacks that include fruits, vegetables, dairy, and cereals.
Sugary foods and drinks may provide fast calories, but in the long run, they cause a number of problems, such as cavities or stomach aches. This information should be provided not only to parents but to children as well. As alternatives to sugar, a teacher can offer water instead of soda or sweet fruits like apples and bananas instead of candies. In conclusion, it would appear that a teacher’s involvement plays a vital role in monitoring children’s health and promoting good habits. It is evident that for the most effective influence, observations and daily health checks should be conducted every day.
Ideally, a teacher should do health check-ups by inspecting children in the morning, just after they enter the classroom. In his case, regular checks provide a sufficient way to control the health of all children and teach them how to take care of themselves. Health education should be presented in a creative and transparent way. After all, when health education is supported by examples of everyday life, children are more likely to understand the importance of hygiene and nutrition.