Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Successful Clean Up Times and Transitions In Early Childhood Education

"The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain."  ~Colin Wilson

Ah…The dreaded clean up time.
That part of the day where most preschoolers all have to go to the bathroom, start missing their parents and mysteriously need comforting or simply disappear all together. The pendulum of moods defiantly swings, doesn’t it?
In early childhood setting there are many thing a teacher can to make this transition time smooth. The first thing is to defiantly plan for transitions and clean up times as you would a circle time or any other aspect of preschool curriculum.
Here are some fun and easy tips how to prepare your preschoolers for clean up:
* Sing a song or play a special CD to let the children know there are 5 more minutes until clean up time.
*Let them know at the AM circle time you have a game to play just before clean up time.
*Have a helper of the day ring a bell or blow a kazoo to start clean up.
*Every one help-including the teacher. Hand the children toys as you go and applaud all there efforts and mention each child by name as they work.
*As you finish look around the room as a class when you are done and comment on how you think your room looks. Clap as a class when you are done.
I have always seen some very sad frowns eventually turn upside down during this time....

Here are some of my successful clean up time transitional attention getters:
*Dead Ants
When you need the kids attention fast- call out “DEAD ANTS!” All the children should drop to the floor (including you) with your legs up and slightly twitching.
Oh…Explain this to the kids first or you will feel pretty silly on the floor by yourself….lol.
This is the most simplistic and I think nearly everyone does it but kids love to freeze like statues. Works every time.

What are some of favorite and successful ones that have worked for you?


Dan Gurney said...

I play Greg and Steve's "The World is a Rainbow" on the player because it's a longish song with a very predictable end.

If the room is completely cleaned up and everyone's ready to go, sitting on the mat, when the song is done, well, good.

If there are things still not put away, those things don't come out tomorrow, or for a while.

If they have everything cleaned up and are ready to go **before** the final chorus of "la, la," something new, interesting, and fun will appear for them the next day.

Clean up time is as fun as any other part of the day. It goes really quickly, and they do a good job.

Barbra The Bloggess said...

I can just see all the kids running and giggling around the room cleaning. Love it, Dan!
That makes it so exciting! Young kids LOVE exciting and that never gets old.
I think I am going to have that song stuck in my head now...La, la, la...

Unknown said...

I let them know that they have 5 more minutes to play and then turn on a great clean up song. We highly encourage the children to help others clean their messes as well. We like the feeling of teamwork!
I really like the "DEAD ANTS!", it's funny. :) I may try that next week.

Emily Urban said...

I always liked the long road-trip game of looking out for VW "bugs" (or whatever models are decided upon). Of course one has to be diligent in being a "spotter". Whenever a "bug is spotted" the spotter says "Dee Dee". Assign someone to keep track of the number of dee dee's, too so you'll know who the winner is.

Deborah Stewart said...

Haha - love the Dead Ants!