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Food & Health

Daily Cleaning By Students in Schools: Yay or Nay?

Have you heard? By the end of 2016, daily cleaning by students will be introduced in all schools, said Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng.

As reported by Channel News Asia, all schools from primary schools to junior colleges have autonomy in the implementation of daily cleaning. This covers common areas such as classrooms and corridors, and excludes toilets, according to MOE. But why is this being introduced? Well, this initiative is aimed at inculcating a sense of responsibility and good life habits in kids.

According to Frances Yeo, Principal Psychologist and Centre Manager at Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre), educating children about littering and cleanliness is crucial because it exposes the depth of our society’s sense of pride and improves the aesthetics appeal of our country.

Weaving in Good Habits
Practice makes perfect and when your child does something over and over again, it becomes a habit. As such, by incorporating good social habits into their daily activities, it is easier for parents and teachers to teach them good social habits such as anti-littering ad recycling.

To get them accustomed to cleaning up their own mess, you can start by placing an additional plastic bag in their school bag. When there are no rubbish bins around, they can place the litter in that bag and dispose it  when they get home. Parents can also get their children to collect their used plastic mineral water bottles and make weekly trips to the neighbourhood recycling centre to recycle the bottles.

Good Social Responsibility
The initiative by the ministry is a good start to teaching children the fundamentals of a shared responsibility towards taking care of the environment. “As children grow up and start to develop opinions of their own, peer influence becomes a stronger pull factor, altering their judgement and actions. Hence, it is important to build a strong foundation in the early stages of your child’s life to ensure that these values stay rooted in their behaviour,” says Frances.

According to Channel News Asia, MOE said that many schools have already incorporated five to 10 minutes of cleaning activities within their school hours each day. These schools include Xingnan Primary School, Park View Primary School and New Town Secondary School.

“Ten minutes before dismissal, we will clean the classroom together as a class,” said Sherlyn Tan, a Primary 6 student at Xingnan Primary. “The next day, we still need to use it, so we need a cleaner environment to concentrate on our work.”

What’s your take on the daily cleaning initiative? Share with us your thoughts below.