Fun and engaging educational resources to teach young children about the importance of handwashing.
The Rufus handwashing campaign is an integrated awareness and education campaign to make learning about good handwashing habits fun for young children. It provides teachers, educators, and parents with resources to teach children the 5 steps of handwashing: wet, soap, rub (for 20 seconds), rinse and dry.
The handwashing campaign was developed in 2017 to target children aged between 2-5 and further in 2018 to include childcare professionals. Insights from research showed that while parents and childcare professionals understood that handwashing was important, they did not always consistently carry out the behaviour. The strategic approach was to educate parents and child-care providers about the risks of E.coli and provide them with the tools to teach children and make handwashing fun.
The 2018-19 the handwashing campaign focused on three distinct audiences: Pre-school care-givers; the children in their care; and their parents.
A specific handwashing pack was developed to teach young children about handwashing through story, song and behavioural feedback. The resource also includes material for children to take home to parents to encourage the continuity of good handwashing habits and behaviours at home.
The aim of the handwashing pack is to communicate the importance of correct and regular handwashing, emphasising that children need to clean their hands for at least 20 seconds, and to dry their hands thoroughly. The resource highlight’s the key occasions when children should be washing their hands. These include when they enter the home, before eating, after play/pets and after using the toilet.
In 2020, the outbreak of Covid-19 elevated the importance of good handwashing practices with the public, to help reduce the spread of the virus. In response the campaign was extending to all primary schools for junior infant or Primary 1 students.
Currently, schools can order the Rufus handwashing materials from our Resource Hub.
The physical resources are supported by a digital material including downloads available at safefood.net/handwashing and the videos below.