In Term 1, Pre-Primary students extended their understandings of the environment and living things in a unit entitled Suds and Mud: The Science of Cleanliness
Cleanliness and hygiene are concepts that all children readily relate to. This unit was designed to expand children’s basic knowledge of these topics in relation to themselves and their everyday lives.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 it says, ‘Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit’. Students have been learning that, in order to honour God as created beings, we must take great care of our bodies, stewarding the temple of the Holy Spirit that God knitted together long ago; bodies that are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14).
Our aim in teaching this unit was to promote a greater sense of responsibility in maintaining health through a deeper understandings of what it means to be clean and what happens when we are dirty.
In light of COVID-19, these lessons were exceptionally timely. The Lord always directs our paths and it was of course no accident that He prompted our planning in such a way that resulted in a focus on germs and careful hand washing.
As a result of our learning, students touched on science as a human endeavour by sharing and reflecting on observations in the realm of biological sciences.
As always, we linked our learning to inquiry skills by asking and responding to questions concerning our health in the context of our everyday lives. Play-based learning strategies were our primary means of engaging children, in addition to exciting hands-on experiments.
The highlight of our learning involved a collaboration between the Pre-Primary classes together with educators from the Secondary School, Mr Taylor and Mr Yu, and a group of wonderful Year 12 science students. The purpose of this collaboration was to build our sense of community whilst teaching students about germs and the most effective way to wash our hands.
Using agar gel in petri dishes, students made finger imprints and waited 1-2 weeks to see what bacteria was hiding on their little hands. Following this, we visited the Secondary School in order to engage with the Year 12 students. In small groups, students observed the growth of bugs on petri dishes which remained sealed to provide a clinically safe and healthy environment in which to make observations. We were all astounded at the results, which showed all manner of normal but fascinating microbes. Interestingly, swabs taken from our toilets showed very few germs, indicating that our cleaners do an amazing job!
What made this incursion so precious was the care and kindness shown by Mr Taylor, Mr Yu, and all the Year 12 students who took our little ones under their wings and helped answer the many questions about the bacteria that grew in the lab. Whilst teaching students how to properly wash their hands, we also reminded them never to be anxious or worried because God’s peace is always present to guard our hearts and minds.
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ – Philippians 4: 6-7 (NIV)