Tips for Encouraging 3s to clean up

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Teacher87, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Teacher87

    Teacher87 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2009

    I started about a week ago with a group of 3 year olds (I replaced their teacher who left). I've been having difficulty getting them to clean up after free choice time. The aide told me they used to have them sit at the table when free choice time was over and then assign kids to different areas, which she said had worked with them a bit better than just telling them to clean up (although I guess some kids still struggled with it). The first and second day I was there they did OK with clean up, but since then, most of the kids won't clean up and continue playing, or just wandering. I tried the strategy of having them sit and assigning them areas for a couple of days, and I also tried stickers today - which didn't really work. I give them a warning before clean up ("5 minutes left", etc.). I've tried singing "Clean Up" songs, but that doesn't seem to do much either. Today it took us over a half hour just to clean up the room (mainly dramatic play and block area).

    I'm just looking for any ideas on how to encourage them to clean up? Maybe some sort of reward system or game? I don't know. With this group of kids, even though they've been in this class since the beginning of the year, it just seems like I'm going to really have to go back to the basics and "reteach" everything since they are testing me and seem to have "forgotten" how to do things correctly. Any advice would be appreciated!
     
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  3. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Dec 11, 2009

    I'd really reduce the amount of items in an area. Remove most of the blocks and dramatic play items. Teach them that they are going to practice how to pick up in a decent amt. of time. Once they are able to consistently, you will add more items. You have to really strip things away for awhile until they understand what is expected of them.

    I blow a train whistle which really helps my kindergartners when it is time to clean up. I blow it once to get their attention. They must freeze and look at me, I blow it twice to indicate choice time is over, time to clean up. It is something simple that really works well. The unique sound stands out and captures their attention.
    Go back to the basics. It sounds like this group needs that. They need be taught how to clean up, it isn't something that comes naturally. :)
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 12, 2009

    You have the right idea, choose a technique and keep using it. Remember one of the rules of threes--you have to repeat everything a million times before they remember it.
     
  5. RedVac

    RedVac Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2009

    I agree with the idea of putting less in each center. On thing that really works in my threes class is to encourage kids to pick up before they leave the center. It makes less to do at the end of free choice. I have a clean up captain who play a xylophone at clean up time. The kids all stop what they are doing and put their hands in the air. Then they clean up. For the kids that struggle I tell them what center to go to and how many items to clean up. Repetition and lots of practice is best at this age. Good luck
     
  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Dec 12, 2009

    You're on the right track! First of all, no one likes to clean up after they make a mess, the mess is the fun part! There is always someone who resists!

    Make sure they know how to clean up. When I used to work with this age group, I was right in there cleaning, too. Show them where things go. We always took pictures of what was in a container, and then labelled the basket with the picture. As well, we stuck the picture onto the shelf, so they knew where to put the basket.

    Make it a race. Often I would turn on the kitchen timer and give them a reasonable amount of time to clean up. We would try to beat the clock... they loved this!

    Sing the "Bob the Builder" song - "What's gonna work? Teamwork!" Somehow this always worked.

    I second reducing the amount of toys you have out, if you are allowed. When we started following the ECCERS guidelines, we had to have specific toys available, so that may not be an option.

    Develop a routine. Whatever you choose, stick with it and make it part of your day. That way the children know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. It's a pain, but eventually everything has to be cleaned up!
     
  7. Teacher87

    Teacher87 Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2009

    Thanks for the ideas everyone!

    I think part of the problem IS that there's just too much stuff... most specifically in the block area. One particular child tends to dump out this HUGE bin of legos everyday... there is no reason they need that many legos out to play with - I'm going to buy a smaller bin this weekend so we can put some of those away. Everything is labeled already with photos, which is really nice, so the kids know where everything goes. I'm going to have to check into if there are any guidelines about what we must have out, and then I'm going to start putting some stuff away, at least temporarily.

    I also might try the timer idea once we get back from our winter break and some sort of clean up signal.

    My aide is set on not helping them clean up, which is kind of difficult for me because I'm used to always helping the kids. And obviously modeling is how you teach with this age. So that may have to change as well.
     
  8. MissJennifer

    MissJennifer Companion

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    Dec 12, 2009

    My class does well with the timer too - we also have a digital clock in our room and now that they're older sometimes I will say let's clean up before it says 10:45 or whatever. (a couple of minutes away) They also like the "clean up freeze game". I play lively music on the cd player and they have to clean as fast as they can when the music plays and freeze when it stops. They think cleaning is a lot of fun this way! :)

    I do agree with limiting the amounts of stuff that they can get out. And modeling cleaning up as you go. If they want to move on to something else they can't go there until they've put away the other thing they were playing with.
     
  9. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Dec 12, 2009

    I have a simple rule in my classroom that seems to solve the problem fairly quickly---you don't clean it up when you are done with it--you don't play with it. The childen learn pretty quick that if they enjoy playing with something they need to take good care of it and part of that is putting it away nicely. If it's something that the whole class uses and refuses to clean up--it leaves the classroom. Last year I had to take my classroom down to the bare basics. I gradually added back one item at a time. They were excited when it came back (some items were gone for months) and remebered that they lost it cause they didnt' take good care of it. They also learned that when I say something I mean it.
     

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