Elementary teachers of the world sigh unanimously when they see a student return from recess wearing a fresh coat of playground dirt. Between arts and crafts and lunchtime, it can be almost impossible for an elementary teacher to keep his or her students completely spot free. A new book suggests that getting dirty could actually be improving the health of children. Let’s take a look.
Developing a Healthy Immune System
“Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Over Sanitized World” explains how exposure to dirt will expose children to healthy germs that benefit their immune systems. The book explains that children who do not fully develop their immune systems are at a higher risk for asthma, diabetes, and obesity.
Playing in the dirt is the best way for children to get the microbes they need to maintain a healthy body. Children, especially those under the age of 5, should be exposed to dirt. Go outside, dig a hole, and play games without worry of the cleanup.
Cleaner Classrooms = Healthier Kids
While the book stresses that playing outside can improve a child’s health, it does not mean that an uncleanly environment is healthy. It may be the school’s job to keep the room’s sanitized each day, but it’s also the teacher’s responsibility to maintain a healthy environment. Students need to be taught to clean up after themselves and to wash their hands thoroughly.
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