Library session teaches kids not to share

… GERMS, that is! See how tiny tots are learning critical principles of hygiene that could save their lives. Adults can learn a lesson here, also …

Using rhyming patter, Multnomah County Library Children’s Librarian at Midland Library, Sue Ciesielski, teaches little kids to wash their hands and cover their sneezes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
With stories about deadly flu strains and killer colds circulating, the Midland Library storytime entitled “Stories About Not Sharing — Germs, that is!” was a good idea.

When we dropped in on November 8, children’s librarian Sue Ciesielski was already sharing storybooks like “Bear Feels Sick”, “Squeaky Clean”, and “Wash Your Hands”.

Ciesielski then led and twice repeated for the kids the rhyme,

Tissue, tissue, where are you?
I feel a sneeze coming through!
I cover my mouth, I cover my nose,
Look out everybody, here it goes …
Aaaaaa Chooooooooo!

Multnomah County Health Department’s Jessica Guernsey Camargo shows how “germs” can transfer, hand to hand, by sharing toys.

The big finale was a demonstration by Jessica Guernsey Camargo, MPH, a program supervisor with Multnomah County Health Department.

“When you share books or toys, here’s what happens,” Guernsey Camargo told the kids as she and Ciesielski toss a cushy toy, laden with invisible ultraviolet powder, back and forth to one another.

Guernsey Camargo turned on an ultraviolet lamp and spots and splotches become visible. She asks, “See what is on my hands?”

“Uck, GERMS!” shouted the kids.

“Tell me what to do,” Guernsey Camargo prompts.

“Go WASH YOUR HANDS!” the kids shout in unison.

Guernsey Camargo “washes” her hands while the kids serenaded her with The Birthday Song.

The best way to know how long to wash your hands, Guernsey Camargo says, is to “sing the [SESAC copyrighted] ‘Happy Birthday to You’ song twice while you’re doing it.”

Because Ciesielski and Guernsey Camargo presented their message in an age-appropriate way, the kids looked like they were having a great time. But perhaps some little ones in East Portland will suffer less from illness – or even from a worse fate – thanks to a very timely, special program.

Jessica Guernsey Camargo gives away free hygiene books to toddlers who attended the presentation.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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