Care of Environment

Sweeping the Floor

Material Description:

The Children’s House should have three or four sets consisting of a broom, a dustpan and brush and a floor cloth, hung at an appropriate height for children.  Each set should be colour coded, with the same coloured handles and hooks.

The broom should be similar to ones used locally, with a size suitable for a child, with a handle which s easy and comfortable for her to hold.  The dustpan will preferably be hooded, it’s lip should be slightly inclined, absolutely even, coloured to match the broom.

The brush should have a handle that is easy for a child to hold comfortably and the bristles should be dense and firm

There should be a dustbin in the same room and it needs to have a foot pedal that the child can use and be steady enough not to fall over.


Hang the broom on a hook from it’s handle, the end of the broom handing a few centimetres from the floor, on he right hand side of the set.  The dustpan and brush are hung together from a hook.  Dustpan and brush sets used for other purposes (e.g. sweeping crumbs from tables) should be kept elsewhere.


  • Look for a dusty area on the floor with the child
  • Bend low to see it together
  • Mark a rectangle around the dusty area with a piece of chalk
  • Fetch the broom, carrying it by the handle and away from the body
  • Stand outside the marked area
  • Sweep the dust towards the left (you may choose to stop in the centre and tap the brush)
  • Continue by starting at the right, overlapping by half the area already swept, moving forward each time
  • Show the dust-line to the left
  • Move and stand in front of the dust-line
  • Sweep the line towards the left corner (away from the child)
  • Inspect the swept area with the child, bending low
  • Return the broom to the stand
  • Take the dustpan and brush together as a set from the display
  • Sit on haunches in front of dust-heap and place the dustpan n the floor
  • Brush the dust into the pan
  • Tilt the dust to the back of the dustpan
  • Lift the pan
  • Draw the child’s attention to the dust-line created by the dustpan
  • Place the dustpan perpendicular to the dust-line (without moving one’s body) and brush the dust into the dustpan
  • Repeat the same movements until not a speak of dust remains
  • Keeping the brush over the dustpan go to the dustbin
  • Tilt the dustpan so that all of the dust comes to one side and over the dustpan into the bin
  • Clean the dustpan with the brush and move the brush along the lip of the dustpan to clean the bristles
  • Return the dustpan and brush to their places
  • Let the child find and sweep a new area of the floor
  • Instruct the child to wash her hands and to do so in the future when she performs this activity
  • The adult takes a mop and removes any remaining chalk

Points of Interest:

  • Draw the child’s attention to the dust-line
  • Keep the dustpan down while sweeping the dust-line
  • Tilt the dustpan so that all the dust tips to one side, ensure all the dust is in the bin, the child can check to see that the dustpan is empty


  • Co-ordination of Movement
  • Independence
  • Concentration
  • Social Adaptation

Age at Presentation:

Three years


  • If the area to be cleaned is large the same technique can be done using radial movements
  • As a preliminary activity ask the child to cut a geometric design and keep pieces in a box which they can scatter on a tray.  Allow them to collect the pieces they like in the design using a dustpan and brush

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  1. […] Sweeping the Floor Presentation from Montessori Commons […]

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