Good news! Spring has officially sprung and we can all now look forward to more daylight, warm sunshine and the chance to spend more time outdoors. However, Spring time is also traditionally a time to have a clear out and a clean-up. In times gone by when people kept their houses shut tight against the ravages of winter, heated them with wood, coal and oil and brightened them with candles, the coming of spring was a welcome opportunity to make a dingy home fresh again. On the first warm, dry day of the season, everyone in the family would pitch in to pull every stick of furniture and scrap of cloth outside. Then, armed with brooms and washrags, walls would be washed, floors swept and corners scrubbed, linens would be aired, soot and ash removed from couches and chairs and the whole house would be restored to its former glory.
Some researchers trace the origin of spring cleaning to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time memorial feast of Passover which occurs in March or April each year. Prior to the celebration, the home is usually completely cleaned, and people also get rid of any leavened bread, called chametz, which are forbidden foods during the Passover days. In the Catholic religion the church altar is thoroughly cleaned on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday while in Iran people adorn their streets and houses with symbols of burning and planting to signify renewal. In the tradition of ‘khooneh takouni’ or ‘shaking the house’ a vigorous spring cleaning ritual takes place. Iranians buy new clothes to wear and every corner of the family home is scoured and cleaned; nothing is missed. The scent of flowers in vases clears the air of stale smells and every household item from the rugs, curtains, bedding, floors, ceilings, windows, cupboards and shelves down to the last ornament receives a thorough cleaning.
Today, the thought of taking a day or weekend to turn our houses upside down seems a near impossibility. Who has the time? Besides, our modern centrally heated and climate-controlled homes don’t get oily, sooty or smoky and our washing machines and vacuum cleaners help keep the dirt at bay.
In a busy school, finding time to sort out isn’t easy either, well at least not until the end of the academic year. However, this holiday we have some exciting spring cleaning projects ahead that will hopefully renew, replenish and reinvigorate our school and continue to add new dimensions to our children’s educational opportunities.
The first of the library projects will be undertaken to convert our existing conservatory into a library for Nursery through to Year 2 pupils. Furthermore, we will be giving the house kitchen a makeover and renaming it ‘Little Cooks’ Corner’ (as voted for by the Heathcote community this week!) This space will then play an integral part in teaching our children about the importance of healthy eating and nutrition, as well as lots of curriculum linked cookery opportunities.