The teacher places the cloth in the water. She takes the cloth out
of the water, holding it over the sink or bowl, grasping it with two hands
together. She closes both hands tightly over the cloth. Grasping the cloth
tightly, she rotates her hands in the opposite direction to each other,
keeping the sides of the hands touching. Most of the water is wrung out
of the cloth during this action. She helps the child to wring the cloth.
When the child understands the exercise, (s)he can practice.
WASHING A FORMICA SURFACE
A plastic bowl 1/3 full of warm soapy water Picture 9
A drying cloth
The child wears a plastic apron and rolls up his sleeves. The teacher
collects the materials with the child.
The teacher places the bowl on a chair by the table to be washed. She
shows the child how to immerse the sponge in the soapy water and squeeze
it out a little. She shows the child how to wash the whole surface of the
table with circular arm movements, re-dipping his sponge in the soapy water
as necessary until the entire surface has been washed. She demonstrates
how to wipe all around the edges of the table. The bowl is emptied at the
sink and clean warm water brought to the table. The sponge is used to rinse
the table clean of all the suds, getting it as dry as possible. The table
is dried with a cloth and the utensils returned to their places. The sponge
is rinsed and squeezed dry. The cloth is hung up to dry.
The small child will often wash the table a number of times before
putting the materials away. His aim is to learn to do the work. This takes
practice. His aim is not to get the work done quickly.
At first, when he has finished, the teacher helps him put things away
so that he understands what should be done. She looks with him to see if
water has been spilled on the floor or the chair. She asks him to wipe
this up, if necessary. She asks him to try not to spill water the next
time he washes tables. The teacher shows the child how to dip the sponge
in the water, squeeze it as dry as possible and to wipe the soapy water
off a small area of table. When the child has understood, he continues
alone. She does not praise the child but sometimes it is good to make a
positive comment like, "It is nice to have a clean table."
A child is not asked to wash his own table. He may wash any table that
is free. If someone else has already washed it, it does not matter. Do
not point this out to him.
WASHING PAINTED SURFACES
If a painted table or shelf is to be washed, the exercise is the same
as for formica surfaces.
If a painted wall or cupboard door is to be washed, it is essential
to wash and dry the paint at the bottom of the wall or door first. Always
wash and dry from the bottom up or streaks may result if the wall or door
WASHING AN UNPAINTED, UNVARNISHED
WOODEN TABLE OR SHELF
Cake of washing soap
Small scrubbing brush
Cloth for drying
Take the bowl 1/3 full of warm soapy water to the table to be washed.
Have the child dampen the table all over with the sponge. The teacher shows
the child how to hold the little brush over the bowl of water, bristle
side up. She wets the soap and rubs it on the brush using strokes from
one end to the other towards the water so that any splashes go into the
water. The teacher shows the child how to scrub hard, using small circular
movements, moving around the table and being careful to scrub right up
to the edges.
The child tries the exercise. When (s)he understands, the teacher can
leave. When the child has finished scrubbing the table, the teacher shows
him/her how to throw away the dirty water, rinse and squeeze the sponge
and get clean water in the bowl. She shows him how to wipe the soapy water
off the table with the sponge, to dry the table with the cloth, and to
return everything to its place.
The child can wash any table he likes, provided no one is using it.
He is never asked just to wash his own.
If many tables need washing, for example, after a painting session,
the teacher asks for help and does some of the work herself. She might
say, "Who would like to help wash the tables?" She usually gets
plenty of help. If a child does not want to, he can sit quietly and look
at a book.
WASHING A VINYL FLOOR
The teacher and child collect:
A square plastic bowl with finger grips
Bar of soap
A small scrubbing brush
2 thick absorbent clothes
Folded cloth or rubber kneeling mat
The child has learned to wring out a wet cloth. This exercise is done
when a vinyl floor is particularly dirty and must be scrubbed.
The teacher shows the child how to start in one corner and work systematically
over the floor. A patch of floor is wet slightly with one of the cloths.
The teacher dips the bristles of the brush in the water and soaps them
by rubbing the bar of soap from one end of the brush to the other. She
holds the brush over the water and rubs the soap downwards towards the
water. In this way, all splashes go into the water and not over the worker.
The teacher shows the child how to scrub the wet patch really hard,
with a circular motion, until all dirt has been scrubbed off. The teacher
then shows the child how to take the wet cloth, squeeze it and wipe up
the soap and dirt, rinse the cloth, wring it dry as possible and wipe the
floor again until all the dirty water has been wiped off.
The teacher then shows the child how to dry the floor well with the
dry cloth. The next bit of floor is then cleaned in this way. The teacher
shows the child how to scrub the adjoining patch of floor. When the child
understands the exercise, (s)he continues as long as (s)he likes.
MOPPING A VINYL OR TILE FLOOR
A small sponge mop. If a child-size mop is not obtainable, the smallest
adult size with the handle cut shorter can be used. Sometimes squeeze sponge
mops used for windows have long enough handles for younger children and
make excellent floor mops.
A square plastic bowl with hand grips on each end or a wide enough
bucket to take the mop.
Detergent or cleaning agent
The teacher takes the bowl and fills it about 1/3 full of warm water.
The child is shown how to measure the correct amount of detergent for the
water. This is stirred until dissolved, if in a powder form. The child
is shown how to dip the mop in the water until wet and to clean the floor,
mopping in one corner and working in lines parallel to the wall from one
end of the room to another and back again. After each mopping, the child
dips the sponge, squeezes it dry and dries the patch that has been washed
before washing the next patch. As each part is cleaned the child is shown
how to go on to the next area to be cleaned. The child continues mopping
until part of the floor is finished or as much as (s)he wants to clean
SWEEPING WITH A LONG BROOM
Small dust pan
The teacher holds the broom with the bristles on the floor on her right
side. She sweeps, moving the broom forward across the body, sweeping dust
to the left in a circular motion, keeping the broom well in front of her
feet so that her shoes do not get dusty. The stroke is a curved one. The
teacher moves forward and repeats the stroke slightly overlapping the area
of floor already swept. She moves steadily forward, sweeping her way in
a line along one edge of the room. The room is swept either backwards or
forwards in lines and swept in one direction or by moving around and around
the room, sweeping towards the middle.
At first, a chalk circle could be drawn on the floor and the child
could work systematically until the dirt is all in the circle. (S)he then
gathers it up with a small dust pan and brush. Instead of sweeping an entire
room, (s)he can sweep just one area this way.
CARE OF CARPETED AREAS
The child is shown how to start at one edge and push the sweeper in
a straight line along the edge of the carpet. (S)he is shown how to cover
the whole carpet by working row by row in a regular fashion so that no
area of the carpet is missed.
CARE OF THE CARPET SWEEPER
Sweeper that needs emptying
The child helps spread newspaper on a patch of vinyl or tile flooring.
The child is shown how to open the back of the sweeper and empty the
dust carefully on the newspaper. (S)he is shown how to close the back of
the sweeper and to put the sweeper away.
(S)he is shown how to gather the edges of the newspaper together and
roll it up with dust in the middle and put it in the trash.