• Josh Johnson replied to the topic Tools for preserving order and cleanliness in the center in the forum Group logo of SupportSupport 6 years, 1 month ago


    I hope this is helpful.  At my schools I’ve had success with giving ownership, or stewardship of spaces to students.  Unpacking this a little, it means they have both authority over and responsibility for a space.  Perhaps they are in charge of the art room.  They decide how it’s organized (with input from other stakeholders, hopefully) and are responsible for keeping it organized.  Perhaps they also hold people accountable for not cleaning up after their own projects, or have the power to temporarily ban people for irresponsible use.  Ultimately, though, the state of the art room is their responsibility and if they don’t hold it to community standards then the responsibility passes to someone else.  We also experimented with extrinsic rewards in the form of salaries associated with the size and complexity of each space.  This was very motivating for a few months, but it dropped off some.  Extrinsic rewards are always a delicate thing and their power always fades.  The real goal would be to build their sense of pride in a job well done.

    Anyway, I’m not sure I’d really advocate the extrinsic reward system.  Classroom currencies have a long and muddy history 🙂

    The coupling of authority and responsibility, though is a powerful concept that works well with folks of all ages.  Make it truly theirs!

    Also, make it as easy as possible.  Supplies should we well stocked, tools should be high quality and well organized.  Also, setting aside specific cleaning time has worked well in my experience.  Children live so much in the moment that remembering to take time to clean won’t occur to them.  We used 20 minutes at the end of each day to vacuum, mop, straighten, wipe tables, tidy, organize, and refill empty supplies.  It’s amazing what a group of focused kids can do in a short time!