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Good hand hygiene means children can play in the dirt at our Liverpool Day Nursery

Good hand hygiene means children can play in the dirt at our Liverpool Day Nursery

Interpreting what is unhygienic and what is ‘dirty’ can differ depending on the context, according to Carmen Rampersad, the nursery’s director of child welfare, recruitment and quality assurance.

She explains: “There is a difference between messy and unhygienic play and it is important to keep that in mind. Hands full of dirt whilst in the middle of gardening is very different than unwashed hands at lunchtime or dirty toys that children play with. As long as the basic rules of hygiene are being adhered to then there are only benefits from messy play!”

Asked how day nurseries can address hygiene challenges without impacting upon a child’s capacity for free or ‘messy’ play and learning, Ms Rampersad responds, “This is a very interesting subject indeed, because children and messy usually go hand-in-hand. Messy play has a very important role in child development and not all mess is bad mess.”

Part of the nursery’s approach is inspired by Romanian philosopher and poet, Lucian Blaga, who in 1919 wrote that ‘A child laughs: my Wisdom and my Love is Play’, a vision the team look to practice with an extensive range of play materials, many of which could be interpreted as messy, such as paint, play dough, water, sand, flour, pasta, rice, bubbles, shaving foam, jelly, paper and food colouring.

At our Liverpool Day Nursery we encourage our kids to have messy play time which they thoroughly enjoy and improve their co ordination skills.  We also take hygiene seriously and each one of our kids is taught how to clean their hands properly.

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