To not want my child litter-picking during school time?

(152 Posts)
WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 17:31:10

I probably am being a bit U and precious about this, but right now i'm feeling like i'm in the right. i'm sure you lot will sort that out though... wink

One class in the school is chosen each week (and two children from that class are chosen for the week) to stay in the yard 10 minutes after the lunch bell and help the janitor pick up rubbish. One of the children get a litter picker while the other gets a bin bag.

My 5yo dd was one of the lucky two today. She came running out at hometime all excited about how she got to use the litter picker upper thingy. One of the mums beside me overheard and laughed saying it was her son's turn last month. i was confused (hadn't heard of it before) so the mum explained the class a week (as i've explained above) etc.

I just don't really like the idea of my dd missing out on class time (albeit ten minutes) to assist with something that the lovely janitor is being paid to do. The children don't get rewarded or anything. After it's done, they're sent back to class again.

When i was at school, we only had to help with the litterpicking if caught littering.

I'm sure if a child is set against it and refuses, the teacher would just pick another child. So i don't know why I'm feeling like this since DD enjoyed it. And i make her do small chores at home (tidy up toys etc).

So... AIBU? Would you be happy about this? She's got to do it all week!

CheCazzo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:32:45

What exactly do you think is bad about this? Apart from 'you' don't like it?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 09-Jan-13 17:32:54


Jobs like this help children to learn (a) not to drop litter and (b) that they all have a part to play in making their school a nice place for everyone.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 09-Jan-13 17:32:56

Cause and effect. If the children didn't drop litter they wouldn't need to pick it up.

I think it's an important life lesson for your daughter. Sometimes we just need to suck it up.

Nanny0gg Wed 09-Jan-13 17:33:09

I'd be a bit more concerned about why there was that much litter that needed picking up.
Suggest that more bins are ordered and children taught how to use them!

insancerre Wed 09-Jan-13 17:34:21

A bit of responsibility is very good for children.

lljkk Wed 09-Jan-13 17:34:29

I think it sounds great! They should do that in secondaries, too. I'd like a whole term of litter picking in the skate park & town centre.

RuleBritannia Wed 09-Jan-13 17:36:18

YABU. It's another way of teaching the children something about responsibility. If they drop litter, someone has to come along behind and pick it up. If they don't drop it, it doesn't have to be picked up.

It also teaches them community spirit - helping the caretaker. I suspect that he wouldn't be able to pick it all up himself so it saves the school money if children take turns to help him.

If you get your child removed from the rota, she might feel bad at being 'different' from the others.

She came running out at hometime all excited about how she got to use the litter picker upper thingy

So why take away her pleasure? Let her help.

It's 10 minutes. I think you should be really pleased that they have this measure in place- like other people have said, it's not so's they can save on paying the caretaker, it's to teach the kids something!

Sorry, I think you're being uber precious!

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 17:38:27

It's the missing out on class time i dislike. It'll amount to 50 minutes this week.

I agree about responsibility, as it fills her with so much pride. E.g. when she's asked to take the register to the office etc.

The thing is, she doesn't drop litter either, so none of it is really her mess. (she has a reusable waterbottle and her snacks don't have paper as she can't manage them).

Hulababy Wed 09-Jan-13 17:40:28

I work in an infant school and the children long to be allowed to use the litter pickers and collect rubbish into big bags. The follow the caretaker around for a chance to empty classroom bins into one big sack to go in the really big bin.

We now have a Job Squad where children volunteer to be part of it, and they get to do all this stuff and more. We have a waiting list and have to change the children every half term to try and even it out among the all! Ours is mainly done during play time or just after lunchtime - so maybe registration missed at most.

It wouldn't bother me tbh. Gives the children a sense of responsibility, shows them that is is everyone job to keep their school clean and tidy (not just the adults) and besides, they love it!

GobblersSparklyExplodingKnob Wed 09-Jan-13 17:40:56

I think it sounds fab, though I do agree it is very odd that there is enough litter for this to be needed, I have never seen any litter in the grounds of either of my kids schools.

You sound a teensy weensy bit of a nutter, sorry.

It's 10 minutes once in a blue moon, some kids spend longer than that messing about in the loo!

Dd1 is in Y5 and is now getting extra responsibilities like helping to tidy away the outdoor toys in Nursery and reception and collecting the registers. She loves it, it makes her feel so proud. That's as much an important part of education as literacy to me smile

happynewmind Wed 09-Jan-13 17:41:34


It might teach them not to drop litter if they have to pick it up.

Although this was reserved as a punishment at secondary school for the "naughty kids".

If they were doing it by hand in an area where there may be needles fair enough.

The janitor has a billion jobs to do in a set period and gets paid peanuts. (my dad did it after he retired from engineering)

Hulababy Wed 09-Jan-13 17:41:35

WhistlingNun - 10 minutes after lunch? So that will be caret time, registration and tbh probably not much more once the children are sat down, settled, all the lunchtime news passed to teacher. I bet they are not missing out on much actual work, if any.

Nixea Wed 09-Jan-13 17:42:42

She might be missing out on 50 mins of class time, but she's learning an equally valuable lesson about taking pride in her responsibilities and about taking care of her environment.

I don't think it actually matters that it's not her litter. It's about realising that unless someone acts, regardless of who's responsible, situations may not improve.

Bobyan Wed 09-Jan-13 17:42:56

10 minutes after the end of lunch is more than likely spent taking the register, you sound a bit precious tbh.

CheCazzo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:43:23

It's the missing out on class time i dislike

She's 5. They probably haven't moved on to calculus and Mandarin yet.

DSM Wed 09-Jan-13 17:43:27

Yeah, you are being super precious. Sorry.

It's less than an hour of class time she is missing. It's seriously not a big deal. She will be at school for 13 years.

An hour spent picking up litter is just a different form of education.

Booyhoo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:44:34

50 minutes out of the school year OP. it's really not that much. she'll be unlikely to be picked to do it again (depending on size of school)

happynewmind Wed 09-Jan-13 17:44:42

the ten minutes after lunch is usually free play /free reading and such to get them settled again.

WorraLiberty Wed 09-Jan-13 17:44:59

She may not drop litter now but she's 5

How many times have you seen older kids walk out of a sweet shop or McDonalds or something and just chuck litter on the floor?

This is a good thing and instills the importance of not littering and why.

But most of all your child enjoys it so YABU.

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 17:45:46

No idea why i'm feeling like this. I think i'm just scared of her falling behind at school if she misses out on 10 minutes each day. But like you say, it's only a week and straight after lunch is filled with faffing about with coats anyway.

She enjoyed it. I'm happy she enjoyed it. I'll try to unwind about it.

LeeCoakley Wed 09-Jan-13 17:45:55

You sound like someone I know who complained that her dd had had to make beds and assist with the cooking at guide camp! I feel sad when I see threads like this. What's wrong with all the children helping to keep their school tidy?

YorkshireDeb Wed 09-Jan-13 17:46:19

Teaching is not just about children sitting on chairs in classrooms. You said yourself she came running out all excited. Children love this kind of responsibility. At my school they can volunteer to do it during break times & kids fall over themselves to be picked. I'm sure your daughter gets a lot out of it. X

pingu2209 Wed 09-Jan-13 17:48:21

I work in a secondary school and the children are dreadful at littering. It is not just the dinner hall covered in lunch wrappers etc. it is the whole school.

The children are asked to help clean the litter up as a punishment every now and again.

However, the children very much see it as the cleaners and janitors jobs and are increadulous that they are asked to clean up their own mess.

It is a cleaner and janitor's job to clean the school of mess that is 'reasonable'. However, if there is a lot of litter because children have poor behaviour, then they children should be made to clean it up.

HugoDarling Wed 09-Jan-13 17:49:34

YAB very U.

CheCazzo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:51:37

Have you read the OP pingu? The litter picking in this instance is not a punishment.

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 17:52:03

You sound like someone I know who complained that her dd had had to make beds and assist with the cooking at guide camp! I feel sad when I see threads like this. What's wrong with all the children helping to keep their school tidy?

I'd definitely not object to this (except the cooking part - she's 5).

She makes her own bed at home.

It's just the missing out on class i don't like. She already struggles in class and i just think that these 50 minutes are really important, and should be spent on her reading/writing/numbers instead.

But it's just a week. I'm sure i can manage to put my feelings of unease aside.

And i would never dream of complaining to the school about this or telling them dd is not to be included. I'm not that nutty.

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 17:53:49

She's 5. What do you think she is going to miss out on in class in those ten minutes? Trigonometry? The special theory of relativity?

You're being daft.

I'm Quite Old Now - but we had Wombles in primary school...a whole week of picking up litter. To be a womble was the besht thing evah.

...underground, overground, wombling free, the wombles of wimbledon common are we, making good use of the things htat we find, the things that the everyday folks leave behind...

I still have a crush on Tomsk. And, don't litter.

HugoDarling Wed 09-Jan-13 17:54:47

But look how proud and happy she was to be picked, and have that little bit of responsibility. Let her enjoy school just now and when she's older you can worry about her actual lessons.

HawthornLantern Wed 09-Jan-13 17:55:32

It sounds as if your daughter is really enjoying her responsibility - taking pride in it even - and it actually reinforces the sense of responsibility you seem to be trying to instill in her at home.

So in the first place it looks as if she's learning something good - and something that gives her (hopefully) a sense of her place in a wider society. And in the second place - in the gentlest possible way - she's missing only 10 minutes a day. Not an entire afternoon or even a full hour all at once - her teachers will ensure she's not missing any vital instruction or excluded from, or confused by any afternoon project. If she had an illness that kept her off school for a week, she'd miss a lot more but her educational success wouldn't be in jeopardy because of it - her teachers would help her catch up then too.

somewheresomehow Wed 09-Jan-13 17:55:38

YABU how is she going to fall behind if she misses out on ten whole minutes of class time. precious muchly im afraid

she doesn't drop litter either, so none of it is really her mess

But isn't that quite a selfish way of looking at it....I mean, we all need to pitch in and sometimes that means picking up after other people. My dad always told me to leave a place cleaner or tidier than it had been, even if I hadn't made any mess myself....and it's no bother.

We used to be pulled out of lessons to do steel pan lessons (blardy useless!), inc. Maths which has always been my weak point, much more so in primary school.....didn't hurt me in the long term though. If your DD is still struggling by the end of the year it won't be because of this week.

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 17:58:31

Well today is the day her SALT teacher visits, so she would have missed ten minutes of that. The SALT teacher comes 1pm (straight after lunch)-2pm.

I'm just a bit uneasy about her missing anything during class time. Whether that be from a song to her 'Mandarin' lesson.

I appreciate them wanting to teach the children responsibility, but i wish the litter-picking was done during luch time instead of after it. DD hates lunchtime and just wandering around the yard, so this would have given her something to do this week.

Bakingtins Wed 09-Jan-13 17:59:07

YABU - it's only once in a blue moon and it's good for the kids to take some responsibility for keeping their environment tidy.
I help at the school gardening club and am usually on litter picking duty as I have 2 yr old in tow and it's where he can do least damage. It's the first thing all the kids want to volunteer for.

HawthornLantern Wed 09-Jan-13 18:00:54

Ah, I crossed posts. I see you are already worried that your daughter is struggling - I can see that might make you a bit anxious.

I still think the litter thing is a good idea - it can still gives her a sense of being successful and good and maybe that why she was picked just now - to give her a little stimulous with a change and a boost?

But if you are worried about her development, why not have a quiet chat with the teachers to see if there are any suggestions that you might not already know about on non-stressful and ideally fun ways (for you and her!) of supporting her at home with all the reading, writing and 'rithmatic?

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 09-Jan-13 18:02:37

"to assist with something that the lovely janitor is being paid to do."

5 year olds in school are learning through all sorts of methods, how to be part of a class, a school, wider socialisation lessons, how to take responsibility for themselves away from their own homes. They are not just there to learn to read and write.

I think being part of a system for joint responsibility for litter and the playground environment is an EXCELLENT education, a good lesson that others should not have to clear up after them, and that they can't be dropping litter under the impression that the janitor is paid to clear up after them.

Would you rather your child grew up into one of those people who shrugs and says 'who cares, someone else is being paid to clean up after me'?

I also think it is good that litter picking is seen as a positive part of being in a community, and not a punishment.

C0smos Wed 09-Jan-13 18:02:39

They have a litter picky up thingy?? In my day we used our hands, sorry YABU.

I'm not sure it is the janitors job to pick up litter, the kids should put it in the bin where it belongs.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 09-Jan-13 18:03:48

It's obviously ridiculous if she misses a special targetted support session with the SALT, but that is called 'drip feeding'.

HugoDarling Wed 09-Jan-13 18:03:52

Litter picking could not possibly be done when they're all in the yard, come on grin

Maybe the teacher has recognised your DD on her own and paired her up with someone to help her make a few more friends?

CloudsAndTrees Wed 09-Jan-13 18:05:07

It's the missing out on class time i dislike. It'll amount to 50 minutes this week.

She's five. She spends some of her time in class playing and listening to other children talk about their weekends anyway.

Doing litter picking she is learning about how to use the litter picker upper thingy, turn taking with the litter picker upper thingy, and that it's important not to drop litter. She is being helpful, and contributing to the good of her school community. It's ten minutes a day for one week, and you got the short week.

In the nicest possible way, you need to unclench.

Euphemia Wed 09-Jan-13 18:07:01

Little responsibilities like this lead to other things:

Pupil Council
Eco Committee
Reading buddy
House Captain
Head Boy/Girl


The children love it! It teaches them to be responsible citizens.

You are being very very silly. smile

LaCiccolina Wed 09-Jan-13 18:07:58

Ur point is invalid, it might not be her mess but she should still be encouraged to clean up.

I think it's a great lesson and worth 50 measily mins across one week out of 52.


Ephiny Wed 09-Jan-13 18:08:16

If you feel so strongly about it, you could speak to the teacher and ask for her to be excused. I'm not sure what a SALT teacher is, but if it's something important, maybe she could swap with another child for that day?

But generally I can't see the harm in it, it's only 10 minutes a day, and just for this week.

She's not missing out though, just engaging in a different type of learning. Also, most of the children will have a turn at some point so it all averages out. The first 10 minutes after lunch consist of getting the children to sit down, quieten down, do the register and that's about it.

It's unlikely to consist of reading/writing/numbers.

At age 5 being happy in school is far more important than these things anyway.

Bobyan Wed 09-Jan-13 18:10:49

Well that's convenient op that you have another reason for your DD to be treated differently to everyone else hmm

Squeegle Wed 09-Jan-13 18:11:01

You must be mad- why would she fall behind if everyone is doing it?
And what kind of lessons will they be doing at the age of five that could be any more valuable than a sense of civic responsibility.

The SALT overlap was probably an oversight. You could mention it, but for 10 minutes I wouldn't bother.

My youngest has SALT too, 10 minutes as a one off wouldn't have any detrimental effect.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 09-Jan-13 18:11:27

SALT = speech and language therapist

kim147 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:11:52

On supply my class complained when I made them make sure the floor was tidy and they'd picked the mess up.

Comment from one child "We've got a cleaner to do that".

Responsibility for your own mess is a good thing to learn.

Sirzy Wed 09-Jan-13 18:12:08

I think its a great thing.

It doesn't matter that someone is paid to do it, it does children no harm to realise that when they drop litter someone needs to pick it up. Anything that encourages children to care for the school environment, and the wider environment, has to be a good thing.

Have you ever sat in on a reception class OP? Last year I did parent reading at my dcs school. If you got a chance to see it you'd realise why you are over worrying.

Euphemia Wed 09-Jan-13 18:16:20

Bloody hell kim either they were trying it on with you, or their class teacher was soft on them!

I always tell pupils it's not the cleaner's job to pick up after them! It's his/her job to clean i.e. vacuum, clean tables, empty bins.

Chancers! grin

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Jan-13 18:17:59

I asked a class of kids at secondary how we could tackle the dreadful litter problem. They said 'sack the caretakers and hire better ones' and genuinely couldn't see why that was an outrageous thing to say, nor that better solutions would be to stop people dropping litter, or take responsibility for their own space.

Anything that can potentially stop your DD growing into an entitled brat is a good thing.

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 18:21:24

I think maybe you should have mentioned the SALT issue in your op, because I do think that changes things a bit.

I think it is a great idea that they involve them in taking pride for their environment and do the litter picking (they do the same at my dds school), but I think maybe something needs to be worked out so she doesn't miss any of her SALT sessions.

IgnoringTheChildren Wed 09-Jan-13 18:27:55

I agree with most other posters that the positives of this far outweigh the "lesson time" missed.

I also feel the need to point out that the idea that picking up litter is something that the janitor is being paid to do is the reason that pupils at my school give to excuse the fact that they can't be arsed to bin their rubbish.

School janitors and cleaners would still have plenty to keep them employed even if pupils took responsibility for their rubbish, in fact school buildings would be much nicer if they didn't have to spend so much time clearing up after entitled brats. Involving children in taking care of their environment early is a great way to try to prevent these problems later. I really wish my school had a similar policy.

IgnoringTheChildren Wed 09-Jan-13 18:31:33

X posted with lots of people! Slowest typer ever.

Ephiny Wed 09-Jan-13 18:31:58

That attitude reminds me a bit of the husbands you read about on here who leave dirty clothes etc on the floor for their SAH wives to pick up 'because it's their job'. It's lazy and disrespectful in both cases IMO.

At home we have a cleaner, but we still pick up after ourselves and make sure the place is reasonably tidy for her, we don't just leave crap strewn all over the place and say 'oh it's her job'.

3smellysocks Wed 09-Jan-13 18:49:59

it's the kids rubbish, why shouldn't they pick it up and take care of their play ground. School is more then maths and english. Learning to care for each other and the environment are just as important.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 09-Jan-13 18:52:34

Children love litterpicking. Seriously. My Eco group are always asking when they can go litter picking next.

3smellysocks Wed 09-Jan-13 18:52:41

Shes only 5 - not doing her PHD, does it matter if 50 mins in one week is used to learn the value of caring for their environment? It's great she doesn't drop litter but there is still a lesson in there for her.

3smellysocks Wed 09-Jan-13 18:59:39

Just read your last post. Again wanted to highlight that your DD is only 5 and in fact maths, reading, letter etc are only one part of the curriculum - they don't spend all their time doing these academic subjects and I'm positive that litter picking doesn't effect the termly balance. Children aged 5 (in either year 1 or R) should be still playing lots and being creative, not having their nose to the grind stone every moment. Your DD obviously really enjoyed it, felt proud and like she had achieved something - isn't that just wonderful in itself? Especially for a child with learning difficulties where confidence can be lower.

3smellysocks Wed 09-Jan-13 19:02:12

The fact she missed 10 mins of her SALT lesson with make not a jot of difference when you look back in a years time.

M25Meltdown Wed 09-Jan-13 19:04:09

We had litter patrols at our school back in the day, when it was all green fields around here. Anyhoo, I loved doing it and it has given me a life long abhorrence of litter. I am getting a reputation at my sons rugby training for loathing litter, I always have a roll of black sacks in the kit bag and now the other year groups approach me for a bag to tidy up coffee cups etc.,

I understand your concerns re the cumlative time missed, but education is only a part of the sum of the person.

lljkk At the secondary school where DS is, they have community service to pay back a misdemeanour that could not be ignored but did not merit detention.

extracrunchy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:09:03

I'd be concerned it's happening during class. I bet some kids enjoy doing it just because they can skip out!
It is a valid lesson, and I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it per se, but missing learning time to do it doesn't seem right.

MamaBear17 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:14:10

We do this in our school. Each form is responsible for an area of the school grounds and a couple of pupils are sent out during afternoon registration for 15 minutes to pick the rubbish up. It teaches them to take a pride in their surroundings and their school. It also highlights that if they drop litter, sooner or later they will be picking it up. It isn't punishment because we want the pupils to take responsibility for their environment in a positive way. They enjoy 'doing their bit' because when they do, they are rewarded.

stargirl1701 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:16:11

It's part of the Eco Schools project. Speak to your MSP or MP. The Scottish government aim to have every school achieve Green Flag status.

If you think litter picking is bad wait till you see what else Eco Schools involves. Check out their website for more info.

starfishmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:18:02

If this is supposed to help teach children not to drop litter it doesn't seem to be working if it is an ongoing thing. To me, it seems to teach the opposite - that if you drop litter someone else will come and clear it up for you.

CaptChaos Wed 09-Jan-13 19:21:46

I find that difficult to believe Starfish. Surely if every child in the school does it on a rota basis, then it would teach collective responsibility.

Absoluteeightiesgirl Wed 09-Jan-13 19:22:31

It's the missing out on class time i dislike. It'll amount to 50 minutes this week

I think she may well fail her GCSE's. Complain immediately

Whathaveiforgottentoday Wed 09-Jan-13 19:22:46

my secondary does it. each form does it for a week each year. They enjoy it and fight over the picker upper thingy.

I think its good for them to realise just how much rubbish is dumped, plus the cleaners and caretakers jobs are to keep the school in good clean condition ... not to pick up rubbish thrown down by lazy children. They work hard enough as it is.

VirtuallyHere Wed 09-Jan-13 19:22:49

YABU. I think it's a great idea and wish all schools would start doing it. The problem of litter is just getting worse and being taught about it at a young age sets behaviour later on

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 19:31:39

I think it teaches them that everyone has responsibilty forr their environment, rather than someone else will alwawtys pick it up.

To people being snarky with comments about missing Mandarin and failing her gcses, the op has pointed out that her dd is missing SALT sessions, which are especially scheduled for her, so I think (knowing how important SALT is), it would be good if the school organised it so the litter picking and SALT didn't coincide.

mrsjay Wed 09-Jan-13 19:32:34

yabu and precious what could your daughter miss in 10 minutes of her education what hmm I think you dont like her picking up litter and dont want to say that it teaches children responsibility and to keep their surroundings clean and your daughter enjoyed it, and it is 10 minutes her who education isn't going to fall round her ears for 10 minutes and she might not get picked again for weeks,

TuftyFinch Wed 09-Jan-13 19:35:33

But where does the litter come from? I don't think there's a bin in DC's playground. There isn't any litter either though.

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 19:40:16

Heavens, give the op a break, she is worried about her daughter struggling at school (does she have sen, op?) she has said she doesn't like her missing her SALT sessions. I think she accepts thahtt there are good reasons for doing it, and that her daughter enjoys it, but would like it to be done at a different time.

LynetteScavo Wed 09-Jan-13 19:41:19

We used to litter pick at school. Our collections were weighed, and the class who had collected the most won. The SN class of 15 kids always won.

Anyway, my point is, I don't think it impacted on my education, but I don't drop litter.

The school probably gets an Eco Award or something because of this initiative.

whois Wed 09-Jan-13 19:42:42

FFS OP, how silly you sound objecting to 10 min missed lessons a day for a week.

DD and school are learning about community spirit, cooperation etc.

She'll only be missing the "settle down, pens out" time anyway! Do you feel the same if she goes to the toilet during class time?

Hulababy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:45:43

We are an Eco School, got awards for it and everything. TBH not seen anything "worse" happening starfish.

houseelfdobby Wed 09-Jan-13 19:46:45

What exactly do you think she will have missed in 10 minutes??? Learning responsibility and how the world works is the best lesson she could have. Chill.

helpyourself Wed 09-Jan-13 19:49:50

OP you're being given a really hard time!
You felt worried about the time she's missing, you've been reassured, you said nothing snobby and still you're accused of bring up a little miss Fauntleroy!

HecatePropolos Wed 09-Jan-13 19:51:18

I think it's bloody fabulous!

I am pig sick of the number of people who think it's ok to chuck their litter about. The more children who are taught that some bugger has to pick it up and that it's anti social and downright minging, the better.

I saw mcdonalds rubbish on a road near me today.

We're 10 miles from a bloody mcdonalds. hmm someone was driving in their car, finished their meal and lobbed the rubbish out the window.


You're in the frigging CAR. A great big metal can with more than enough room for you and a bit of packaging.


Where there's a bloody great big BIN

Obviously some people were never taught to not be dirty pigs.


(I am not suggesting your child would litter. I am sure you have taught them to never do that. But generally. The more it's taught, the better.)

HecatePropolos Wed 09-Jan-13 19:51:58

blush I appear to have gone off on a litter rant instead of answering what you actually asked grin

lilackaty Wed 09-Jan-13 19:55:45

I think YABU but if I were you I would have popped in this morning and asked them to make sure that she didn't miss any of the SALT time. I imagine that the SALT wouldn't have been impressed either.

PainForLife Wed 09-Jan-13 19:55:45

I would agree with other posters in regards to it teaching your child a valuable lesson. I also understand your concerns about her missing time on her SALT sessions but as other's have said it is just 10 mins so won't be be that disruptive. I think u should be proud that your child is learning something beneficial/positive for the long term.

children with the attitude "it is the cleaner/janitors job" really upset me as it shows they do not have any respect. I would never want my child to ever respond in such a manner.

just as a side note my DD (2.5 yr old) has learnt to put things in the bin when I ask her to but there are times I dnt even say it & she will automatically put whatever it is in the bin. it makes me feel very proud everytime she does it. hopefully she will continue in this manner & not change!

this school sounds like the kind of place I would want to send my child smile

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 20:00:37

A lot of you seem to think my negative feelings lie with the actual litter-picking. In fact, it's to do with the class time she's missing. I've already said I wouldn't mind if it was done during lunchtime rather than after.

She's not some entitled child that gets waited on hand and foot. So i don't appreciate being compared to a lazy OH who expects the SAHM to do everything. hmm

And i'm not dismissing the fact children should tidy after themselves by stating the janitor gets paid for doing it. I just mean that the school have means to get the litter tidied already, so they're not using the children because they HAVE to.

And the yard is usually immaculate. It has two bins.

She's in primary one, not reception. I know that at this age, they learn through play etc, but I don't consider litter picking for 50 mins at age 5 all that educational. Her school is very eco-friendly as she's been learning all about waste prevention and recycling in class.

Imo it would be better if she maybe did the litter picking one day rather than 5 days. I think this is far too much.

And she's not going to be in primary 1 forever. This carries on all the way upto primary 7 where the work is slightly more important.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 20:03:26


It's teaching children responsibility.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 20:05:38

You know the children all have little jobs in a lot of schools, right? Like tidying the book corner, being an ICT helper, being the book monitor etc...all stuff that takes up class time, but there is a good reason for it.

WhistlingNun Wed 09-Jan-13 20:06:11


It's teaching children responsibility.*

I know. And i love this. But why can't she be taught responsibility during playtime? Why does it have to cut in to class time for 5 days?

LeeCoakley Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:09

But there's no point in doing it at lunchtime, children are still around littering! And the reason the yard is immaculate is because the children are proud of their school and enjoy looking after it.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:22

Hecate people chucking stuff out of car windows is one of my pet hates as well. It really pisses me off.

I used to work in Saudi and the litter situation there is awful. A friend used to work for a family whose child would literally eat a sweet and drop the wrapper on the floor. When the friend asked him to pick it up, the child said "that's not my job, it's the maid's." Horrible attitude, and one that is implicit in this country every time someone drops litter.

Sirzy Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:28

Because if they did it at playtime people would say "AIBU to think my child shouldn't miss their playtime to pick litter"

And surely if they are picking up litter from playtime then it needs to be done after playtime?

Bobyan Wed 09-Jan-13 20:09:06

50 minutes over one week in the final year of primary will still have a negligible effect on her whole education.

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 20:09:18

Well I am probably going to be the only person who says it, but Imo YANBU!

If my child was going to miss SALT sessions, to be part of the litter picking, I would talk to the HT about the possibility of it being done at another time.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 20:09:32

WhistlingNun you know what would happen if it cut into playtime instead? You'd have parents complaining that they didn't get their full playtime.

Way of the world, schools can't do right for doing wrong.

Euphemia Wed 09-Jan-13 20:15:49


I think you need bigger fish to fry - if you're going to fret over stuff like that, best just tell the school now that you don't want your DD ever to be picked for any non-academic roles in the school.


TuftyFinch Wed 09-Jan-13 20:25:54

I wouldn't have a problem with litter picking and people that drop litter are ignorant pigs.
Hectatent we are also at least 10 miles from McDonald's and there was a what looked like a whole family's litter strewn threw a hedge near me this weekend. It's not difficult is it?
I am genuinely wondering where the litter comes from in a playground. The children aren't allowed sweets are they? Or do my DC go to a weird school?

Smudging Wed 09-Jan-13 20:29:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Wed 09-Jan-13 20:29:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Primary 1 or 7, the first few minutes after lunch they won't be learning the meaning of life, the universe and everything. You are over reacting, big time.

Asking if she can miss it went she has a SALT session isn't unreasonable, but don't kick up a fuss about it in general, not unless you want to be labelled "that parent".

Euphemia Wed 09-Jan-13 20:29:58

No sweets?! shock Very weird! Crisps?

*when, not went. <missed 10 minutes of spelling at primary once>

Euphemia Wed 09-Jan-13 20:31:35

Headfirst grin

OrangeClub Wed 09-Jan-13 20:38:33

My son's school did this last year. Only it was litter picking in the drug den park next door to the school. The place is constantly littered with needles, broken glass, used tampons/condoms. The school said that the council would do a risk assessment beforehand but to be honest I was not keen on the idea and he didn't do it. It was the risk of needles that bothered me more than anything else. Irrational? Possibly but I felt better that he didn't do it. He was six at the time by the way.

I told the school that if he was being expected to litter pick on school grounds then this would not be a problem at all. It teaches him not to chuck his rubbish all over the place when he is out and about.

PatriciaHolm Wed 09-Jan-13 20:40:54

Let me get this straight...

One class per week, for what 36 weeks a year? Assuming one class per year group (so seven classes?), then each class will have a turn some 5 times in the year. 2 children per go, assuming different kids each time, so 10 kids per year per class. Over the 7 years, 70 kids, so each child will have to do it twice, some three times. So in their seven years of primary, each child will "lose" 50 mins of education twice, some three times.

You don't genuinely think this is going to have an adverse effect on their education, do you?!!

coldethyl Wed 09-Jan-13 20:53:21

Why shouldn't it have an adverse effect on OP's daughter's education? Surely you've all had those sanctimonious letters home from the head stating that 'children arriving late into class in the morning disrupt the class dynamic' and mention holding back learning and having to resettle everyone? How is it any different if they're late in in the afternoon, having done something the school wanted?

LynetteScavo Wed 09-Jan-13 21:06:36

Nope, never had a letter home about my DC being late, or being ill too often. And that's 3 DC and a total of 19 years at school combined.

abitcoldupnorth Wed 09-Jan-13 21:14:29

Really truly YABU. She is five. You have 13 years of ever-increasing extra-curricular stuff that you may or may not think useful to her development. Don't get your knickers in a knot over 10 minutes of litter-picking.

Meglet Wed 09-Jan-13 21:18:19

We used to take it in turns to do Wombling smile.

Sirzy Wed 09-Jan-13 21:18:29

The difference is it is one child and they know who that is and when they are coming in. There is always going to be times when children are coming in and out of the classroom for various reasons but that is controlled by the school. Therefore it is very different to parents who can't get their child to school on time.

HawthornLantern Wed 09-Jan-13 21:22:54

Whistling, What leaps out at me is your anxiety about your daughter (not that you think she shouldn't be asked to pick up litter). I think the fact that you are upset about the 10 minute gaps from lessons - which might not bother a lot of people - shows how much you are anxious about her. I think the answer isn't to crack down on the litter patrol or to move it into the lunch breaks - but to find out whether there is more you can do to work with the school to help your daughter. The thing is - your anxiety isn't going to go away with the litter - so the litter isn't the real issue here.

TuftyFinch Wed 09-Jan-13 21:22:57


I'm not really shouting but i keep asking and keep not being told. smile

strumpetpumpkin Wed 09-Jan-13 21:22:59

are you against children taking the register to the office too?

strumpetpumpkin Wed 09-Jan-13 21:23:35

we did wombling too :D

wigglesrock Wed 09-Jan-13 21:32:57

TuftyFinch In my daughters school the litter comes from the kids emptying out their coat pockets, dropping tissues, having birthday invitations envelopes dropped and the odd apple core. They can finish bits of their lunch outside if they need to. Its not a lot per child but it is if you add all the crap up from P1-P7.

Proudnscary Wed 09-Jan-13 21:33:52

Good God

Cherriesarelovely Wed 09-Jan-13 21:36:13

Yabu. Things like this are great for teaching kids to care for their environment and to make them aware of the litter that is being dropped around the school. 10 mins occassionally is nothing.

starfishmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 21:36:32

If litter picking is supposed to make the children realise they have a responsibility for their environment (and therefore not drop litter) then it isn't working, because if it was there would be no litter to pick up.

TuftyFinch Wed 09-Jan-13 21:39:10

Thanks wigglesock grin

wigglesrock Wed 09-Jan-13 21:40:56

S'alright - I could sense your frustration growing grin

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 21:42:44

Ooh, Tufty, can I shout too!?


The litterpicking at dd's school is done all around the school, so there will be bits that people have dropped on the walkway up to school, bits that have blown into the playground, random Haribo packets that have dropped out of kids pockets and copious amounts of unidentified fluff.

stella1w Wed 09-Jan-13 21:43:14

Yanbu given the fuss that schools make about lateness and every minute counting. Playgrond monitors should ensure people who drop the litter pick it up.

She's 5! WTF do you think is so important that she's missing? Get a grip.

maddening Wed 09-Jan-13 21:45:25

Yabu it's a very easy life lesson.

TuftyFinch Wed 09-Jan-13 21:48:23

SHOUT AWAY HAZEY. I agree about missing SALT though and I don't really get why people are being rude to the OP. No need really is there?

hazeyjane Wed 09-Jan-13 21:50:59

Thank you Tufty, I can only assume that people have only read the op's first post.

<by the way, tried to answer your litter in the playground query too!>

Chesntoots Wed 09-Jan-13 22:09:05

We did Wombling at our school too! (feels old...)

queenofthepirates Wed 09-Jan-13 22:17:36

I used to teach in a Japanese school. The kids had to tidy up the school after classes to teach them responsibility for their environment. Us teachers also had to tidy the staff room, must have saved a fortune on cleaners.

One of my friend's school sent the kids out to catch snakes in the school grounds which I thought was going a bit far TBH.

coldethyl Wed 09-Jan-13 22:19:20

Sorry, Lynette, you've misunderstood me. We've never been late with 4 children over 3 schools either. I mean the generalised letters to all parents. It appears at least 3 times a term at the infants and juniors. We are not the problem. Would you like to stop patronising me now?

TranceDaemon Wed 09-Jan-13 22:25:02

Littering is one of my pet hates, this should be done at all schools, YABVU!

Kaekae Wed 09-Jan-13 22:30:12

When I was at school litter picking was a punishment, something we'd have to do after school in line with a detention. I wouldn't be too keen on my child doing it really.

FriendlyLadybird Wed 09-Jan-13 22:31:55

I see where you're coming from re the SALT, but it's only for one week. And she gets to use a litter picker-upper! (I'm quite envious)

Nanny0gg Thu 10-Jan-13 00:38:21

I don't get it.
Our playground never has enough litter to require litter picking every day.

The hall floor after lunch however...

TraceyTrickster Thu 10-Jan-13 01:55:10

If the OP is worried about her 5 year old missing 50 mins of school, I should be chewing my nails to the elbow.
We are in backward Australia and my daughter only starts school in 3 weeks- she will be 6 shortly after.

Honestly a few minutes out of the school year mean nothing. Are you going to send her in when she is ill, in case she falls behind? They do learn to read in reception, but most of the focus is on social skills- which this task is performing beautifully

piprabbit Thu 10-Jan-13 02:12:41

The children will be involved in all sorts of little jobs throughout the school, all designed to give them a sense of community, self-esteem and responsibility.

One or two children from each class will be picked to take the register back to the office.

One or two will be asked to help handout the milk or fruit at snack time.

Perhaps run an errand for the head to one of the other classes.

And that's before you get into student council etc.

They enjoy it, they feel really good about helping and feel proud of themselves. It is a very important lesson.

When I was at infants school, I spent many a happy hour doing the photocopying (only it wasn't a photocopier - it was a sort of barrel with a turny handle), answering the school telephone and (best of all) tidying the stationery cupboard. Didn't hamper me academically, and may just have given me a bit of extra confidence.

MollyMurphy Thu 10-Jan-13 02:47:48

Really? You have a problem with children helping pick up school yard trash that they have contributed to, thus helping to keep their school environment clean and learning a good life-lesson in not littering and sharing the load to take care of ones community.....because there is one paid janitor- slave who be responsible for it all on his own?

That is a sad sad gripe IMO

FellatioNels0n Thu 10-Jan-13 03:00:58

I think missing ten minutes of formal lesson time once in a while is a very small price to pay for the valuable lesson they are learning by being made to litter-pick. In other word, you don't just get to drop your litter and have some other poor unseen, unthanked person pick it up for you - it's a collective responsibility and if you shirk it there are repercussions.

I live in a rich Arab country where the local people are used to having staff to do every little thing for them, and they think nothing of rolling down their car windows and chucking takeaway packaging out onto the street, or leaving the remains of picnics and barbecues on the beach - because they know a team of very poorly paid Indians will be along in the morning to pick it all up for them.

This cavalier attitude of arrogance and entitlement spreads to other areas of life as well, and I'm afraid to say that many of the local children here grow up with an extremely unattractive, spoilt way about them.

exoticfruits Thu 10-Jan-13 05:49:14

Sounds a great idea to me and gets away from the idea that you seem to have that 'it someone's job' and it negates all personal responsibility because someone is paid. There shouldn't be any litter in the first place so if there is it should certainly be picked up by those that caused it- since no one knows, the fair way is to take turns.

Pennybubbly Thu 10-Jan-13 06:09:25


My DD goes to a Japanese elementary school. Towards the end of each term, she has to take a pair of white gloves into school (the kind that manual workers wear here) and a plastic bag and the whole year group go out into the playground/park opposite her school to collect litter. The session is for about one hour.

Each term, we also have to provide her with two white cloths, marked "desk" and "floor" for cleaning. The last day before the New Year holiday (ironically Christmas morning) she was told to wear old clothes into school and they spent the entire morning cleaning the classroom. She came home positively filthy [guess the classroom was sparkly tho grin ]

FunnyLittleFrog Thu 10-Jan-13 06:18:57

Bit late to this but I think it's not actually a great idea. The children should be taught not to drop litter in the first place, surely?

This is very different to other 'jobs' like being a book monitor.

Fakebook Thu 10-Jan-13 08:54:28

YABU because of what everyone else has said. Your FIVE year old isn't going to miss the part about Quantam physics just because she misses 5 mins of class time.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 10-Jan-13 08:58:14

YABU we do it at secondary, each tutor group gets a turn. They drop less litter when they have to pick it up. Quite frankly, it's attitudes like "oh but someone else is being paid to do it", that breed litter droppers!

mrsjay Thu 10-Jan-13 08:58:47

ne of my friend's school sent the kids out to catch snakes in the school grounds which I thought was going a bit far TBH.

erm snake wrangling is taking it a wee bit far grin

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 09:05:53

But why can't she be taught responsibility during playtime? Why does it have to cut in to class time for 5 days?

The clue is in your question. She is being taught about responsibility. Education, learning and school are about so much more than learning the 3 Rs. Playtime is her time for socialising and making friends and working out how to navigate social relationships and to get some exercise. Playtime is equally important to lesson time to children. It's just important in a different way.

Funny you're right, they should be taught not to drop litter in the first place, but some parents don't bother and so children arrive at school thinking it's acceptable. The school will teach the children not to drop litter but some will still do it. Or they drop it by accident.

diddl Thu 10-Jan-13 09:27:06

Maybe they should cut lunch by 5mins everyday & the whole school do it?

Can´t help thinking that whilst a couple of children are doing it each day, some will keep thinking that ´s OK to keep dropping litter as there is always someone being made to pick it up.

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 09:41:54

Nice idea diddl but it would be absolutely chaotic to try and get the whole school to do it.

1 or 2 children take the role seriously and want to do a good job to get the recognition of having done so.

The more people there are involved the less effective this would be. Diffusion of responsibility means that the children wouldn't feel an individual responsibility and you'd still only get a few kids actually doing it. There will always be those who mess around and refuse to and under those circumstances the children who would ordinarily feel proud that they were doing a good job would start to feel resentful of those who weren't joining in.

If they give the job to individual children, even those who'd normally try and get out of it would still have to do it.

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 09:42:56

I can't imagine there's much of a litter problem anyway. I've worked in a number of schools in different types of area and haven't ever really noticed a massive problem.

And if the teachers spot individual children dropping litter, I presume they'd tell them to go and pick it up themselves. I always do.

mrsjay Thu 10-Jan-13 09:44:30

I can't imagine there's much of a litter problem anyway. I've worked in a number of schools in different types of area and haven't ever really noticed a massive problem.

^ ^ this it is just the odd crisp packet or whatever it isn't as if they are down the tip going through landfill, and then they get to use the litter picker thingy grin

diddl Thu 10-Jan-13 10:07:20

Sorry, yes, got a little side tracked there.

Was sort of thinking along the lines that the litter was a problem & that if everyone felt a consequence, they might be more careful iyswim.blushgrin

Ours are expected to put all litter back in snack box & bring home.

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 10:37:36

diddl grin I know exactly what you mean. It just doesn't work like that unfortunately!

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