Need classroom management help! - Long sorry

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by SamIAm, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Feb 2, 2010

    Hi everyone,
    I'm having a terrible time here and really need some help. I just started a home daycare. I have 5 kids: 2 young -2 year olds, 2 young -3 year olds, and one 16 month old (mine). I know that isn't a lot of children, but I am having the worst time with managing their behavior. I can get them to do circle time and snack and things like that, but the over all feel of the room on most days is simply chaos. They're all over the place making a huge mess, and fighting with each other constantly. Trying to get them to clean up after themselves, or stand against the wall to wait their turn to wash their hands, is impossible. I feel like I spend all my time cleaning up after them and handling disputes. I want to be able to sit down with them and play or work on things, but I can't seem to get more than 2 minutes at a time. They just don't play nicely with the toys or each other. I emptied a lot to the bins and took away some of the more delicate toys, but I can't take away blocks and books. I have one child who likes to go around and grab every toy or book she can find, and pack them into boxes for me to have to sort through later. I have another one who dumps and tramples toys; another that throws toys. One of them is a hoarder, and if any of the kids come near her when she's playing, she screams at them and pushes. One of my boys grabs and pulls on the other kids, or out right lays on top of them. It is all just too much! I don't know where to begin. I have great classroom management skills with older kids, but none of those tricks seem to work with these kids, and I don't want to put them in time out all the time. What am I supposed to do? I do positive reinforcement ("Jane is sitting in her chair") and even try to reward with stickers, but it isn't working. I have worked so hard for this, and feel like it is all falling apart. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. I am so upset. Please help!:(
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 2, 2010

    First of all, you have taken on a very difficult age group. They are all very self centered and are not developmentally ready to play with others, share, or play nice.

    Here are some ideas:
    1. Do you have enough space for them to play unrestricted? Are you caring for them in one room of your house, the living room, or what?
    2. Try setting up play space as you would in a center. Put the block area in an open area so that they can play on the floor--like the dining room. Use the coffee table for coloring, and other table activites. When you can not supervise the area, put out some child directed activities. I like to put out dump and fill. Small tubs, baskets, small toys, large spoons, tongs, etc.
    3. This age group is into dump more than fill. Thus, you may be picking up a lot more than you planned. Keep it simple--I would use laundry baskets and do a big sweep of the area, and dump all the toys into big baskets.
    4. Have lots of areas (interest areas) to play in. Remember that these are very young children, and their attention span is short, and they will not play nice with other children.
    Here are some play area ideas I think might work:
    1. Block
    2. Housekeeping
    3. Sensory (rice, water or cornmeal)
    4. Music toys--makes lots of noise, so put it away when you can't stand it
    5. Sticky Board (contact paper put up on wall, sticky side out) Use small items to stick on and pull off
    6. Remember that the first step to putting items together is the learn how to take them apart--so before putting together a puzzle, a child must first understand how to take it apart. So, find some stacking toys, maybe some of those plastic nuts and screws.
    7. Quiet area. Maybe the sofa. Put some pillows, blankets and some books. Finding a nice cozy quiet area to relax is important to the young child.
    8. Family photos. Have the families bring in photos of themselves, and post them where the children can see them. (You will be surprised how often the children study these familiar faces.)

    I guess I am assuming that the children need to keep busy with appropriate activities. It sounds like you have circle time down, so I hope my suggestions help.
     
  4. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Feb 2, 2010

    Hi Blue, Thanks for the reply. I have two rooms that the children can move between freely, but they tend to stay with me anyway. I do have the rooms set up like a center, but the children don't always use the spaces the way I intended. I have a reading nook, but they don't go in there to look at books much. My student today just used it as a dumping area. :) The only thing I don't have is sensory play area. I'm just not brave enough for that yet. I know the cornmeal will be all over my house in a matter of seconds. Definitely in the Summer when I have some older kids. I am also working on creating a family picture area at the entrance, but it's not completed. I actually just got the pictures from parents today.
    I think that maybe I just have too many toys out. I've already pulled some, but maybe I need to do more.
    When you say dump and fill bins... what are you putting in them? I have bins of toys, but nothing meant for dumping and refilling.
    Another question... should I be worrying so much about picking up after them, or should I just do a planned clean up every once in a while? My issue with this is that they start trampling the toys.. not to mention I don't want it to look like a hurricane went through when the parents come to pick them up. I have all the toys organized in bins, but I could maybe have the kids put everything in one large basket to start, (and I re-organize them) and once they've mastered that, work on the smaller bins. What do you think? Cleaning up is a big issue for me.
     
  5. shellie1619

    shellie1619 Rookie

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    Feb 7, 2010

    I think that you are on the right track with the large bins. If you can get them to place the toys in a general large bin/laundry basket on the floor when they get done with it, you are half way there. Later in the day you could make a game out of it with the children. Hand them a toy and tell them where to put it (on the shelf, in the small red bin, inside the toy box, etc..) I hope this is a start
     

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