In Japan, it is customary for children to help keep their classrooms clean and tidy. Kao donates its cleaning products to sixth-grade elementary school students throughout Japan who will shortly be graduating from elementary school, helping them express their gratitude to the school where they have spent the past six years and to the teachers and other people who have taught and looked after them, by cleaning the school so that it will remain neat and tidy for future students.
In 2014, Kao launched a new cleaning sheet product that makes it easy to remove stubborn dirt like water scale, dried-on soap and dark stains etc. that cannot be removed by ordinary day-to-day cleaning, bringing the shine back to people’s houses. The wiper sheets are made with a special fiber that, when wetted and rubbed on dirty surfaces, takes the dirt off, leaving the surface looking like new. As Kao’s brand manager for this new product comments, in today’s era of material abundance when people tend not to pay much attention to looking after things properly, the act of scrubbing something clean can help to spread the mindset of appreciating what you have.
Using cleaning sheets provided by Kao, sixth-grade elementary school students who are about to graduate undertake a big spring-cleaning of the school that has played such an important part in their lives.
This activity is carried out in March every year, with students spending 90 minutes on a big spring cleaning of their school. Wiper sheets are distributed to every student, and the students are told which area in the school it will be their responsibility to clean. Working in small groups, the students use the wiper sheets to get everything sparklingly clean, getting rid of dirt that had accumulated unnoticed during their daily school life, such as water scale on taps and sinks, and stubborn dirt on sash windows, lockers, doors, etc.
Having spent as many as six years at the school, the students have accumulated a great many memories of the place. The act of cleaning the classrooms, the science lab, the home ec room, etc., which have been touched by so many hands, and where they have learned so many things, is sure to bring back memory after memory for the students.
When the big spring-cleaning is finished, the children have proud smiles on their faces as they stand in their sparklingly clean school.
The purpose of this activity is more than just to remove dirt from the schools.
The activity also provides an opportunity for students to feel and express their gratitude to the school where so many things happened over their time there, and to the teachers and other people who have watched over them as they grew and developed. It also represents an opportunity for children to become more aware of their role as members of society, as they leave behind them a pristine school for the future students who will be spending each day there.
In the future, Kao will continue to work actively to show children how important and fun it is to keep things clean, and will be providing support to put smiles on children’s faces and help them grow and develop.
Professor Kazunori Kawai, Principal of Kaname Elementary School, Toshima Ward, Tokyo
Our school implemented this activity for the first time in 2016. I felt that this process of cleaning and reflecting provided a marvelous opportunity to get the children thinking about things from the perspective of the people who will be using them in the future, and for inspiring a sense of gratitude in the children for the things and places that they have been using all this time, and the people who have watched over them. I intend to keep holding this activity at our school as a regular pre-graduation activity every year.
“Having launched this activity in 2016 at 135 schools, by March 2017 this figure had grown to 741 schools. We will continue to work to promote this activity.”
“One of the great things about our cleaning sheets is that people can actually see for themselves that the sheets get things properly clean, so they can really experience the pleasure of cleaning. We want to see children enjoying themselves while they are cleaning.”