It is obvious that a classroom must be kept clean. Not only is it necessary to create a comfortable learning environment for the children, it is essential from the health point of view. Young children have yet to develop the level of immunity that their elders have in regard to contracting disease and infection. The cleaner the classroom, the lower the chances of kids falling sick.
It is a good idea to involve the children in the cleanliness issue. Not only will this allow the teacher to explain, with practical demonstrations, the need for cleanliness and its importance; it will also help the children in keeping things like their rooms and toys clean. Once they have the ability to perform actions like cleaning up, children often like to show adults how much they can do. Praise and positive reinforcement of these efforts must be given so that the activity does not wane as the novelty of doing it wears off.
Involving the Children
The best way to involve young kids in keeping the classroom clean is to divide them into teams. Each team will have one aspect of cleaning to do. For example, one team could be put on the job of cleaning the windows and other one cleaning the furniture. Since the amount of cleaning to be done by the furniture team will be more, it will need to be larger than the window team; or the furniture should be divided into small sections so multiple small teams can do the cleaning. The teams should be switched around / re-configured regularly so that the kids are involved with all aspects of the clean and also do not get bored with the daily repetition.
The Equipment Needed
No complex or possibly dangerous equipment is required to keep the class clean. What will be required are:
- Trash cans. These should be small enough for the children to be able to open them and empty the trash inside, but not so small as to overflow. The cans should be segregated according to what they should contain. Typically, green cans are used for biodegradable waste and black ones for dry and non-degradable materials. Teaching children about waste segregation at a young age will allow them to develop the self-discipline that will become an important component of their developing personalities.
- Broomsticks and dustpans. Kids have small hands so the equipment should be small and easy to hold and use. Also, long broomsticks can be difficult for children to control and could lead to other kids getting poked or even more seriously injured. Avoid equipment made of wood – there is always a change of a child having a splinter pierce the skin. Plastic brooms and dustpans are the best option.
- Feather dusters. These too must be small enough for the children to use comfortably and safely. If required, masks should be given to the children to prevent dust from being inhaled. Start the dusting exercise on larger unbreakable objects and teach the kids the right and wrong ways to go about the process. As they become more confident and adept in the work, they can be asked to dust smaller and more delicate things.
Avoid getting the kids involved in cleaning any classroom rugs. These are often very dirty and sticky with spilled food and drink. Vacuum cleaners are not safe for children to use. And anyway, usually washing is the only way to get them really clean, and this is not a classroom activity.
Cleaning materials can be expensive but if they are bought in bulk (say a semester’s supplies at a time) or combined with the purchases of other classes, significant discounts may be available.