Early Childhood Education/Early Years

Debra Laxton and Marilyn Leask with inputs from the MESH Early Years Editorial Board | View as single page | Feedback/Impact
Early Childhood Education/Early Years
Effective learning
Activities and Types of Play
Case Studies

Global resources on Hand Washing: staying safe

'A Germ's Journey' is a global package of innovative educational resources for young children to learn about germs and hand washing and how this links with their health. An interactive book and website have been developed by a multidisciplinary team (microbiology, education and psychology

Germs Journey is an interdisciplinary research project resulting in the co-creation of resourced-based interventions (including books, webgames, videos and posters) that have enhanced understanding of the importance of handwashing, germ transfer and disease development, thereby leading to improved handwashing. 

The resources are now utilised across three continents (UK, Asia and West Africa) in schools, museum exhibits, community centres and refugee camps. Reaching 145,285 people thus far, the ‘Germ’s Journey’ health-education intervention has demonstrated that our multi-component resources improve handwashing behaviour in children (3-5 years) and enhance knowledge of germ transfeand is reducing contraction of diseases such as diarrhoea associated with poor hygiene. Most recently, the resources have been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in line with WHO guidelines stating that handwashing is the most effective strategy for prevention of infection.


Germs Journey website link -Join Us On A Germ's Journey | A Germ's Journey

References – to research-based evidence on hand-washing (Germs Journey Project)

Younie S., Mitchell C., Bisson M-J., Crosby S., Kukona A., and Laird K. (2020) ‘Improving the efficacy of young children’s handwashing behaviour and understanding of germ transfer: The impact of A Germ’s Journey educational resources in schools and public spaces.’ Plos one, 15(11): e0242134. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242134

Crosby, S., Younie, S., Williamson, I. and Laird, K. (2020) ‘Evaluating approaches to designing effective co-created hand-hygiene interventions for children in India, Sierra Leone and the UK’. Plos one, 15(9): e0239234. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239234

Crosby, S., Laird, K. and Younie, S. (2020) ‘Children and handwashing: Developing a resource to promote health and well-being in low- and middle-income countries’, Health Education Journal79 (2) pp. 123-137. DOI: 10.1177/0017896919866227. DORA: https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/18283

Crosby, S., Laird, K. and Younie, S. (2019) ‘Interactive health-hygiene education for early years: the creation and evaluation of learning resources to improve understanding of handwashing practice’, International Journal of Early Years Education, 27 (4) pp.374-390. DOI:10.1080/09669760.2019.1628010. DORA: https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/17836