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Happy Children Clean their School

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

Children cleaning their School, Jiyugaku-en. Photo Cecilia Macaulay

School-cleaing is 30 minutes of daily exuberance. We don't do it in Australia, even though the benefits are worth millions, in creating people with strong, positive spirits and and happier, freeer home relationships. When you aren't frighted of cleaning, so many chances open up in love and in life. The reason Australia doesn't have 'clear your own school' program might be because our culture has no idea how to make cleaning fun.

A common Aussie technique for getting more help around the house is interrupting screen time and saying 'How many times do I have to tell you kids, go clean your room!' Cleaning is bonding time in Japanese schools, and it can be in our lives, if we set it up right.

These photos are from my visit Jiyugaku-en, a small, extraordinary school founded by Japan's first female journalist, in the 1930's. Her name was Ms Honey. Children grow their own food, cook lunch for each other without an adult in sight, and have playful, curious way of being in class thats unexpected for Japan. 'What do you think of Japanese people' asked one child. Nice question! 'Who's better, Michael Jackson or Freddie Mercury?' was another.

So, let the revoltuion begin.

How to Create a Culture of Clean - Everyone cleans together. Little prep children, the principle, everyone. This is a democracy, after all. We are all 'owners' of this school, this home.

- Energize us with music. Humans have always used music to power us though the drudgery and trudging that helped us survive.

- Have cleaing equipment that honors the user, whether its kid sized, or elegant lady shape. Have it lined up and ready to roll.

- Use the power of rythym, of habit. Same time, same day, and you just get started, motivation becomes unneeded.

-Peer group power. Any mess you make, your classmate would have to clean, so children get naturally careful of what they drop, and things never get insultingly dirty.

-Costume. Putting on an apron isn't just to keep clean. It defines who you all are for the next few minutes.

Sitting all day doesn't make anyone happy. The afternoon clean is a chance to shake it all about, get playful, and get the endorphins flowing.

Benefits of having children clean their schools:

-They see that they are useful and needed, that their actions have an impact on the world. This takes some anxiety out of being small and alive, and you get better behaviour.

-They abosorb their studies better, as their brains get freshened up by activity.

-Schools don't waste money on cleaners.

-When they grow up, they don't have to divorce their unsupportive partner, since shirking cleaning would have been eradicated years ago.

- They are acutally able to go home and be supportive to their parents. Parents all have it tough, and a bit of actually-helpful cleaing can be the lifeline poor mum needs.

Pretend you are Japanese. Set the culture, and get the cleaning ceremony activated. I'd love to hear how it goes.

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