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How to Apply 5S: Elementary School Classroom

Here’s how to apply 5S to an elementary school classroom, the next post in our How to Apply 5S series.

Being a teacher is one of the most important jobs in the world. Your classrooms should reflect your high teaching standards and embody your vision of a safe, well-behaved, and hard-working environment. So how do you get there? How do you make your classroom sing it’s most important song?Being a teacher is one of the most important jobs in the world. Your classrooms should reflect your high teaching standards and embody your vision of a safe, well-behaved, and hard-working environment. So how do you get there? How do you make your classroom sing it’s most important song?

5S represents a 5-step discipline for maintaining a well organized and visual workplace. An organized environment helps children to be more independent and helps teachers spend more time on their students rather than spending time searching to find what’s needed.

Lean 5s

Step 1: Sort Your Classroom

Before Sort, there were more desks and chairs than there were students. The boards were cluttered and our desks had materials laying out that we didn’t use daily. With Sort, we removed the additional tables and seats so that we could only seat the exact number of students for the school year. Unnecessary paperwork and old artwork were stored away or disposed of.

Step 2: Set Your Classroom In Order

By removing additional chairs and tables, we were able to arrange and Set In Order the tables and allocate spaces for different types of learning. This gives each child a sense of ownership and space, thus creating independence. Pens, makers, and crayons were separated into shiny, clean containers and bins for easy access and storage.

Step 3: Make Your Classroom Shine

We then Shined our tables, desks, and workspaces. The boards were properly cleaned and the entire space was made ship shape.

Step 4: Standardize Your Classroom

We used Standardize to label and lay out our class information, calendar, schedule, upcoming menus and reminders. We used different colors to differentiate between topics which was a great application of visual management. This made it clear how to maintain the great work done in the Sort, Set In Order and Shine phases of 5S.

Step 5: Sustain Your Classroom Improvements

With regular updates and weekly checks, we will now Sustain our sharp, well-maintained classroom. It makes the classroom a wonderful place of learning and it sends many powerful messages to students, parents, and faculty—from an expectation of excellence to a focus on personal pride in the students’ own work habits.


To learn more about 5S, check out our Yellow Belt Training & Certification!

Or automate your Lean Six Sigma projects with AI using Kure.

Have you applied 5S at work or at home? Be sure to check out our 5S hub page⁠—5S: An Easy Way to Eliminate Waste⁠—for other great ways to apply 5S!

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