Classroom Clean Up Time with Preschoolers can certainly have its challenges. It can range anywhere from the scoop and dump technique to the shove and stuff style. Either way, it can leave everyone a little frazzled in the end and items misplaced all over the classroom. Some of us have even tried to ease the stress with a peppy “Clean Up” song. I am still not sure whether the peppy song is meant to help the children more or the adults.
While songs and chore charts can help, it might be more beneficial to look a little closer at the environment the child is cleaning up. Is it clear to the children where they are expected to put things back? Are the bins and shelves labeled? Are the labels with words only? Are some bins labeled and some not? The following is one way to make Clean Up Time fun and easy for everyone.
What you will need is a camera, wide clear packing tape and scissors. Now, go all around the classroom and look at each shelf and bin carefully. Take the items out and lay them on the floor. Then take a photo that clearly shows what the items are that goes in the bin or on the shelf. Tape that photo to that area and your set. Labeling the photos also have the added benefit of learning how to spell the items. Be sure to also include the kitchen play area if you have one, block area, and work supply area where markers, crayons and scissors go.
Clean Up time does not have to be so challenging anymore. Simply be sure it is clear to the children where they are expected to put things back and the next time Clean Up is called watch the children’s faces light up as they try to get all the toys back to where they belong. Be sure to allow the children enough time for clean up also. Including the children in the photo taking process and in placing the photos up could also be beneficial. This will allow the children to have a sense of ownership of their classroom and their belongings which will in turn encourage them to want to take care of what they have even more.