From time to time in the course of the Sunday School year, it is appropriate to set aside a day or week to emphasize cleaning up the space. This is true even if you have a great custodian and if every teacher and class does a great job of picking up trash at the end of class on Sunday. There is much more to keeping space clean than simply picking up trash!
In most Sunday Schools, this should happen probably three times a year: (1) the week leading up to the new Sunday School year beginning–often August or September, (2) the week after the new year begins–early January, and (3) the week after school dismisses (late May/early June). One other time might also be appropriate: the week after Vacation Bible School. In between these special times, classes should be expected (and held accountable) to make sure their space is kept clean and creates a positive impression every week.
What are some of the ways Sunday School space needs to be prepared, straightened, and cleaned on these special clean-up days? Consider the following in classrooms, Sunday School office, hallways, etc. (and feel free to add to the list):
- pick up and throw away all trash/remove all clutter;
- clear out all old curriculum (pupil books, teaching kits, posters, etc.);
- erase/clean the markerboard/chalkboard (clean erasers and make sure markers and chalk are usable);
- dust all furnishings (chairs, tables, etc.), bookcases, cabinets, and equipment;
- dust all blinds, window ledges, doors, chalkboards/markerboards, and picture frames;
- clean all windows, walls, and floor moldings;
- vacuum, clean, and/or mop the floor, rugs, or carpet;
- clean all light fixtures (replace bulbs as needed), light switches, and outlet covers (make sure they are all safe);
- in preschoolers and children’s rooms, toys and learning stations should be disinfected each week and after every use;
- check/touch up the paint on walls and ceiling, including wallpaper (is it peeling, scuffed, marked, molded, etc.?);
- empty and clean the trash can/replace the liner;
- check for/address any odor problems (but avoid all strong fragrances which may cause allergic reactions);
- check to see if any chairs, tables, furnishings, or equipment can or should be removed;
- check to see if any chairs, tables, furnishings, or equipment is in need of repair or disposal;
- make sure the room has a sign outside the door in a visible location when the door is open or close which announces the class or classes meeting in the space;
- make sure all chairs and furnishing are of appropriate size and match one another
- update/change all display boards (in classrooms and hallways).
One way to use this list would be to cut and paste it into a Word document. Add space at the top for the class name, room number, date completed, and person completing the sheet. Add an underlined space at the front of each item that can be checked when completed. Some of these items are included in another blog post you may want to read: Conduct an Adult & Student Sunday School Space Walk.
Then ask the class to complete the work during the assigned week or on the day that has been set aside. This should be a class activity rather than another responsibility for the teacher (even the teachers of preschoolers and younger children can seek the help of some interested parents or volunteers). You might even want to combine the “work” with a fellowship activity. For some other space issues, check out General Sunday School Space Issues: Welcoming Guests.