The Great School Clean-Up

K, 1, 2

The learners organize a clean-up event in a defined area that needs work. They may use garden tools, collect garbage, or clean up dirty or graffiti areas. 

PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • plan and participate in a clean-up effort outdoors.
  • reflect on the work and engagement of the community.

Varies by project:

  • garbage bags
  • rubber gloves
  • rakes and brooms
  • flowers and shovels 
  • journals
  • cleaning supplies
Home Connection 

The parent letter should be sent home prior to the lesson in order to allow parent time to collect needed items and give them the opportunity to volunteer their time to help in the clean up activity.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Prior to this lesson, determine as a class what area needs cleaning in order for them to be stewards of a shared space. Students may see trash to be picked up in the neighborhood, an area that needs cleaning or graffiti removed, or an area that needs weeding and planting. For whatever project the students decide, discuss tools needed, permission needed, who can help, and what they need to ask others to contribute. 

    Learners bring rakes, shovels, gardening gloves, leaf and trash bags, and any other clean up tools that may be necessary for the success of the activity.

    Meet and review safety rules and procedures.

  2. Begin by grouping learners in clean-up teams. Parent volunteers would be very beneficial for the clean-up teams. Assign each team to an area to focus their cleaning efforts.

  3. Begin clean up: Allow time to complete event. 

  4. Come together as a class to discuss their clean up activities. Each group should share what they have done and how it made a difference to their community. Learners reflect individually by writing in their journals about the event. Why was it needed? What effect did it have? Should it be continued?

Cross Curriculum 

In this lesson learners will be asked to participate in a school wide clean up of the school grounds and the building. Learners will be meeting a continual need in their school community as well as understanding the concept of stewardship. Learners will be given the opportunity to reflect on their service activity through whole group discussion and independent journaling.


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.