Projects & Activities - Outreach & Education

Sustaining Toilets As Restrooms (STAR) Awards Programme

The S.T.A.R. (Sustaining Toilets As Restrooms) Awards Programme for pre primary, primary and secondary schools is the next evolution of restroom and hygiene education in schools. The new programme adopts a more holistic approach that replaces the previous Happy Toilet School Education programme. The Restroom Association has identified STAR as an imperative answer to meet schools' needs in tackling perennially dirty toilets. Converting students, teachers and the school culture to accept that toilets need to be treated as quality restrooms is the key to sustaining hygiene and social etiquette amongst daily stakeholders.

STAR was introduced after RAS received considerable public feedback about the need to ensure that quality education programmes are matched with quality restrooms and properly trained cleaners. This programme also follows the mission of the LOO (Let's Observe Ourselves) Campaign which is to spread equal focus on the owners & operators, contractors & cleaners and users.

[View photos here] [Download presentation slides here]

Project Details

The school management and the teacher in charge will be involved in the project that focuses on 3 key areas; projects for students to engage in (with education programmes), checking the standards of the cleaners and assessing the design of the restrooms.

The process and execution of each area of focus are as follows:

  1. Education and awareness - The theme of ACTIONS or Appreciating Clean Toilets In Our Neighbourhood and School will be adopted via a series of assembly talks and workshops. The teacher in charge will coordinate with RAS on a timeline and identify a group of students to undertake a project to raise awareness of restroom hygiene and cultivate social graciousness. The identified students would engage in projects such as decorating their school toilets, staging exhibitions or presentations, adopt a Welfare Association or coffee shop outside of school to promote restroom cleanliness and / or create games, sketches, educational material, etc. The main objective of engaging students in these community service projects is to encourage peer to peer teaching letting students learn from one another about good etiquette practices. RAS staff will guide students during the process and assess their viability upon completion of the projects using internal rubrics of assessment. The assembly talk conducted by RAS staff serves to raise awareness on a large scale. There will be interactive learning opportunities and prizes on offer integrated with the talks and workshops to encourage and stimulate student responses. The school would be required to complete the education and project phase within the same year initiated to be considered for assessment.

  2. Standards and appreciation of cleaners - RAS staff will work with the Operations Manager of each school to check the qualifications and cleaning routines of all cleaners of the school. This phase is necessary to ensure that certified cleaners are provided by the appointed cleaning contractor and to assure that they diligently follow a proper cleaning schedule. The school should hold an activity to recognise and appreciate the efforts of the cleaners. The school that passes this phase will qualify for the minimum of a SILVER STAR (refer to assessment criteria).

  3. Design of restrooms - First class education facilities need to have quality restrooms. All schools need to be accountable for the type of restroom standards they provide on their premises. Using the RAS developed self assessment checklist, RAS staff and volunteer eco assessors will check all the restrooms in each participating school to ensure that each restroom is functional and user friendly. Only when all restrooms pass the checklist criteria will the school then be eligible for the GOLD STAR (refer to assessment criteria).

    Schools are accredited in the following manner:
  • GOLD STAR - school will need to successfully complete the education component, have cleaners that are certified and have ALL their restrooms passing the standards of the RAS Self-Assessment Checklist.

  • SILVER STAR - The school will need to pass the assessment criteria of at least two components.

  • BRONZE STAR - The school will need to pass at least one of the three assessment components.

Schools will receive their respective plaques upon successful completion and audit of their involvement in the STAR awards programme and their achievement will be published in our RAS website. All awards are valid for the year assessed only and schools wishing to renew their involvement have to once again participate in the following year. To acknowledge sustained achievement, schools that are awarded GOLD in successive years will be awarded the PLATINUM STAR.

Benefits

The STAR awards serve to recognise schools that dedicate efforts to ensure a quality standard of restroom cleanliness for its students and teachers. Aside from promoting user awareness and social responsibility, there is a growing need for checks on school facilities and the quality of service provided by cleaners. As stated in the introduction, feedback was considered in the creation of STAR. This feedback stems from parents and students who have highlighted that restroom facilities especially toilets in high use areas occasionally are not clean enough. Upon further investigation, the schools that were identified had actually completed a round of the programme. This proves that education is not the only way of improving good restroom culture in schools. Also, when schools are considered for other national awards such as the CHERISH Award and Green Audit programme, they can use the award conferred by RAS as part of their track record of achievements. Outstanding schools stand a chance to be selected for one of the recipients of the annual LOO (Let's Observe Ourselves) Awards, the only local award recognising any organisations and individuals who have contributed to help Singapore achieve a world recognised standard of restroom cleanliness.

Suggested Projects

Teachers can choose to involve a small group of students, a CCA group, a class or an entire level (Sec 1 cohort, Primary 3 level, etc.) for either one project or a series of projects. Students can undertake these projects to fulfill Community Involvement Programme (CIP) hours.

The recommended projects to undertake include (Click to expand):

  1. Decorating / enhancing the washrooms
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 10 hours)

Objective: To provide the school body with a pleasant environment with gentle reminders of keeping their school washrooms clean.

Manpower requirement: Either an entire class (recommended for Primary schools) or a group of 5 to 10 students (recommended for Secondary schools) to adopt one washroom.

Proposed duration: Between 1 to 3 months is recommended. Schools can choose to plan a 6- month timeline if necessary.

Process: The teacher would identify the students involved and the washrooms that they would be assigned to decorate.

RAS would then be called to arrange a date and time for a 45 minute workshop to brief the students on how to go about decorating their assigned washrooms and assessment criteria for their work done.

Students would be encouraged to visit their assigned washroom to plan and then come up with themes or names that they can use for decoration.

Students then brainstorm ideas and gather the required material (posters, paint, recycled material, plants, etc.) and work together to decorate the washroom.

Once completed, the teacher would call RAS to arrange for a date and time for the assessment which includes assessing the cleaners and all the washrooms in the school.

Outcome: Students have made a meaningful contribution to the school and enhanced the environment within the washroom. The school body would be encouraged to keep the washroom clean due to the efforts of their peers. All students would have the required gentle reminders to practise good hygiene and appreciate the new makeover that their washrooms have undergone.

  1. Cleaners’ appreciation activities
    (potential CIP hours earned: 4 – 10 hours)

Objective: To recognise cleaners’ efforts and value their contribution to the school. Students acknowledge their service either by organising a Cleaners’ Appreciation Day or a Cleaners’ Day Off programme. This further serves to make students aware of the challenges that school cleaners face and their dedicated service. Other programmes involving school cleaners can also be planned and incorporated.

Manpower requirement: For Cleaners' Appreciation Day, a small group of students (a class, CCA group, etc.) can complete this activity. For other programmes, teachers can select either a class or an entire level.

Proposed duration: Most activities can be undertaken and completed within the same day. Logistics and planning would be undertaken about a month prior to execution.

Process: Teachers identify the class or level that adopts the project. Students spend some time to interview cleaners, follow along with them in their daily routine and plan for an Appreciation Day assembly programme to offer tokens of appreciation and profile them to the rest of the school.

For Cleaners' Day Off (recommended for Secondary school students), students can undertake the routine of the cleaners to better understand and appreciate their contribution to the school.

Outcome: It is envisioned that upon completion of this project, students will appreciate their cleaners and the work they do. They could treat their school restroom facilities with more consideration. The cleaners themselves would know they are valued members of the school and a sense of pride would be reinforced as they perform their daily duties.

  1. Creating educational/awareness material for an exhibition
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 10 hours)

Objective: To raise awareness about proper restroom etiquette, environmental issues and social graciousness through the creation of posters, puzzles, games, videos and other exhibits. Students demonstrate their creativity and artistry in the creation of positive awareness material for their peers.

Manpower requirement: Either an entire class (recommended for Primary schools) or a group of 5 to 10 students per class (recommended for Secondary schools).

Proposed duration: A suggested duration would be 1 to 3 months for creating the exhibition material and one week for holding the exhibition.

Process: The teacher would identify the students involved and assign them their sub groups.

RAS would then be called to arrange a date and time for a 45 minute workshop to brief the students on how to go about creating the exhibition material, provide examples of what other schools have created before and assessment criteria for their work done.

Students then brainstorm possible designs and messages they intend to project within their exhibits. Students would subsequently work on their exhibits and create a set of presentation posters, artwork, games and other interactive exhibits.

 

Teachers would serve as facilitators for consultation when required. The teacher in charge would then choose a day (or the week) for the exhibition and the venue. Teachers can choose to make this project as a competition to award the groups with the most creative and innovative exhibits.

Once arranged, the teacher would call RAS to assess the exhibition displays. This date and time also includes assessing the cleaners and all the washrooms in the school.

Outcome: The outreach to the entire school community is substantial due to the exhibition being displayed at a prominent area. Students could use the exhibition to conduct surveys and quizzes to generate interest and ascertain their thoughts about the school's washrooms. The exhibition also serves to remind the school community about proper hygiene habits and respect school property. Once the exhibition has concluded, the created exhibits can be placed in the washrooms to serve as decoration and enhancement within the washrooms.

  1. Conducting surveys or case studies
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 6 hours)

Objective: To gather feedback from the school community about the state of the washrooms and improvements they look forward to.

To better understand the behaviour of students while they express their opinions about the school's and Singapore 's restroom standards.

Manpower requirement: Either an entire class (recommended for Primary schools) or a group of 5 to 10 students per class (recommended for Secondary schools). This project is recommended for Secondary and Tertiary school students.

Proposed duration: 1 to 3 months or 6 months for a broader target group.

Process: After the teacher allocates the students in their sub groups or assigns the classes involved, RAS will be contacted for the 45 minute workshop. This workshop specifically goes into the process of compiling the right questions depending on what specific information the students intend to gather. Sample questions and data formulation techniques will be provided and websites like Feedback Farm and Survey Monkey will be introduced. Students will be provided with the requirements and assessment criteria of their project.

[Download Suggested Survey Here]

Students then work within their groups to create either physical or website surveys while carefully selecting the demographic of people to be interviewed. Once the survey is completed, students would have to analyse their findings and compile a report to their teachers.

The teacher would then arrange a date and time for RAS to assess the report or case study while performing an assessment of the other two components of the STAR programme.

Outcome: This project is a valuable tool for the school management to ascertain student feedback about the condition of their washrooms. This project also allows for students to express their opinions and subsequently make them more accountable from the information they gathered. Suitable action can be taken from the survey report to better enhance the restrooms within the school. If the survey has been administered to the general public, selected results will be published on the RAS website as well.

  1. Creating videos or web content
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 5 hours)

Objective: To spread quality messages through creative method such as games, skits, instructional videos and social media platforms.

Manpower requirement: Either an entire class (recommended for Primary schools) or a group of 8 to 15 students per class (recommended for Secondary schools). This project is recommended for Secondary and Tertiary school students.

Proposed duration: 1 to 2 months for scripting, execution and post editing (suggested)

Process: Students are placed in their groups. Each group should have at least one student from the Audio Video Engineering Club or with knowledge of video / web editing (recommended).

RAS would conduct a workshop for the students and show them sample videos that have been made by students from other schools. The importance and relevance of the web content / video material will be explained along with the assessment criteria.

Students are to procure video equipment with the teachers' help or find web platforms (Facebook, Blogs, etc.) for their task and brainstorm ideas and story boards for their project. The next stage would be to film or create their content based on their brainstormed ideas once approval has been given by teachers. Regular edits must subsequently be made to provide the final cut.

Once the final cut is produced, RAS will be contacted to view the completed projects for assessment. The other two components of the STAR programme will also be assessed at the arranged date and time.

Outcome: Students would have an interesting platform to demonstrate their creativity while sharing important messages about the environment and restroom etiquette, hand hygiene and other issues. RAS will select the best projects to use for its school education programmes with other institutions and community outreach initiatives. Created web content and /or videos can be used to promote the school while serving as a reminder to students about the valuable messages that have been used.

  1. Inspecting their own washrooms and providing feedback
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 6 hours)

Objective: To provide the school's Operations Manager and stakeholders with relevant feedback about the school's washrooms on a consistent basis.

To also empower students to bear the responsibility of reminding their peers about the need for a cleaner restroom environment.

Manpower requirement: All or some of the student washrooms can be assessed by students. Students can work in pairs for this project. Either an entire class (recommended for Primary schools) or a group of 10 to 30 students per class (recommended for Secondary schools).

Proposed duration: A period of 3 to 6 months (recommended).

Process: Teachers would select the classes or groups of students involved. It is preferable if students involved do not have any physical disability for this task.

A workshop is held at the school and conducted by RAS. During the workshop, students will be introduced to the inspection checklist and an instructional video about the process of checking their washrooms.

[Download Suggested Checklist Here]

Students would then be placed in a duty roster and assigned either one or two (or more, depending on number of washrooms) washrooms to inspect during the 3 to 6 month period. Every week, students would spend either one or two days to perform the assessment. Each check will take about 15 to 30 minutes to be completed. At the end of each week / month, students would then report their findings or any problems to the Operations Manager or Teacher. Students should report any severe problems immediately if experienced.

If there are many student groups or classes, the duty roster can be rotated whereby students can inspect other washrooms that were assigned by their peers.

Once the inspection period is over, students would file their inspection reports and prepare an oral or written presentation for assessment.

RAS will be contacted to come to the school to view this presentation and perform the other two assessment components of the STAR programme.

Outcome: This project serves to make students, cleaners and the school accountable for the school washrooms. The provision of feedback serves to help the Operations Manager to immediately rectify any outstanding issues within the washrooms and improve the standards within the washrooms. Other students would see this as an effort to uphold high hygiene standard in public toilets and this could potentially reduce any instances of vandalism and other inappropriate behaviour.

  1. Holding assembly talks in school or at other community establishments
    (potential CIP hours earned: 3 – 5 hours)

Objective: To encourage peer-to-peer education and empower students to teach others about good hygiene habits and proper restroom etiquette.

To also foster stronger ties between schools and other community organisations that require assistance.

Manpower requirement: Either one class, CCA group or a group of selected students. More classes can be added if there are more community establishments and organisations tied to the school.

Proposed duration: The timeline is quite flexible depending on the arrangement the school has with the community establishments. A suggested period for planning and execution is 3 to 6 months.

Process: Once teachers have selected the classes or student groups involved, they would also source for community establishments like Childrens' Homes, Societies for the disadvantaged, pre-schools and other organisations for the proposed tie-up.

The teacher would then invite RAS to conduct a workshop and provide the RAS trainer with the community organisations' information to better facilitate with the training during the workshop. Students will be given ideas and information on how to gather and present information such as proper hand washing, good restroom etiquette and other environmental messages that can be shared with the community organisations. Students would also be encouraged to represent the school with the proper decorum and share their school's achievements.

Upon the completion of the workshop, students would begin compiling their education material using relevant delivery platforms and work on a good presentation structure.

The teacher would then invite RAS to accompany students during their talk to assess its effectiveness and their delivery.

A subsequent date would be arranged by the teacher for RAS to complete the other two components of the STAR programme.

Outcome: The project serves to promote an excellent relationship within the school and the school's interaction with external organisation. Students can take this opportunity to improve their public speaking skills while recognising the importance of community involvement especially after leaving the school for higher pursuits. Social welfare institutions for the underprivileged would benefit from the effort provided by the students while receiving an important education about proper etiquette.

  1. Any other project that relates to restroom cleanliness, hygiene awareness and environmental awareness
    (potential CIP hours earned: varies according to individual project)

Objective: Teachers can suggest a set of customised projects that are more suited to their students' strengths and aptitudes. This allows for flexibility and accommodation.

Manpower requirement: Depends on the project, similar to requirements of other projects.

Outcome: Once completed, the teacher would call RAS to arrange for a date and time for the assessment which includes assessing the cleaners and all the washrooms in the school.

Other Information 
  • Although not mandatory, an assembly talk can be conducted either before or after the workshop if the teacher chooses for one.

  • It is not mandatory for the school to have a workshop if the teacher can conduct one internally.

  • The teacher can choose one or more listed projects for the students if more student involvement is required.

  • RAS can help to arrange for community organisations for participation if required.

  • RAS does not provide funding for the projects undertaken by schools. Teachers are encouraged to apply for the National Environment Agency's Environment Club Fund for schools to offset their projected costs and look to their Community Development Councils for possible funding arrangements.

  • RAS can help to arrange for school visits if teachers want to see positive examples of projects completed by other schools.

  • Certificates and plaques designating the assessment outcome (GOLD Star, SILVER Star or BRONZE Star) would be sent to the school upon completion of the audit.

  • Students and teachers can also choose to volunteer with RAS for ad hoc community events to earn CIP points if necessary.


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