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Have students shadow cleaners for better insight

Efforts by the Ministry of Education to involve students in daily cleaning activities should be lauded, as such habits must be inculcated from a young age (Take ownership to make S'pore cleaner: Tharman; Nov 5).

However, more can be done to help our children recognise the meaning behind these activities and to see them as being more than just a chore.

At the College of Alice & Peter Tan, a residential college at the National University of Singapore, a pilot programme is being run to allow residents to shadow the cleaning and gardening staff to learn more about what they do daily. A similar programme can be incorporated in other schools.

Throughout the year, students can take turns to be paired with a cleaning or gardening staff member for about an hour to see what their job entails.

This will allow our children to understand the hard work of school custodians and appreciate them better. It will also help students to see cleaning activities in a different light.

Hopefully, students will think twice before littering or leaving their plates behind.

Parents must also work hand in hand with schools in building children's character and values.

At home, parents must show the way and clean up after themselves. Parents should also explain to their children the importance of taking ownership of the environment.

Nurturing good character and civic-mindedness starts from a young age. Children are highly impressionable and model themselves on the behaviour of adults. As a society, we should be aware of the messages that our actions are sending to our children.

To continue calling Singapore a clean and green city, all of us have a role to play.

Wee Hong Jing (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'Have students shadow cleaners for better insight'. Subscribe