It’s Clean Up Time! Tips for Cleaning Up the Classroom

Clean Up Captain 
Submitted by: MackieOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums
I would suggest designating a clean up captian for each center each week. This way you can give the responsibility to the children and they can motivate the others to help them. Post their responsibilities and make sure their is a visual for the class jobs. Also make sure you are giving a signal for clean up time. This could be an oral warning of 5 to 10 minutes and an auditory warning by playing “clean up” music. This seems to work well with the 4 year old’s I have worked with.

Clean Up Game 
Submitted by: MargoOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums
Try making clean up into a game for them (a lesson for you). See if the children can find something blue to put away (or any other designated color), or see if they can pick up three blocks, etc. It becomes more challenging for them and you are reinforcing color and number skills. If advanced enough, see if they can find something that begins with a /b/ sound to put away.

Clean Up Ideas 
Submitted by: AnonymousOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums
These are some ideas that I have used in my classroom–

  1. Count to 10 slowly. Let the children know that by the count of 10 all the toys should be put away.
  2. Try giving out a small treat to each child that picks up. Once the other children catch on that they will be rewarded after they have picked up it will encourage them all to pitch in.
  3. Sometimes I will say “Who is my fastest picker-upper today. Who can pick up the fastest?” The kids enjoy this because they think that it’s a race.

Pick a scrap 
Submitted by: Mary Tolliver

You and another teacher picks two items (toys) that you want to have a children pick up, but you don’t tell the children–that’s a secret between you and the other teacher. You tell the children that you have found two toys that need to be picked up. Whoever you see (after having all of the children join in to see if they will be the lucky one to pick it up while cleaning) will get a treat.

Using Songs 
Submitted by: AnonymousOriginally posted at the Discussion Forums

I am a pre-k Montessori teacher, I have a mixed class of 21 3 and 4 year olds. My children do not need to clean up all of their work, just put name tags on their lessons and they can finish it later. However, if we transition from our work time to our group time we use a song. Most teachers use and instrumental song (I use Enya’s Tea-House Moon). When the song starts, it is a signal that it is time to stop working and either get their name tags, or clean up their lessons. The children know they must be seated in their places by the end of the song. This works very well.

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