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Destructive Children/tidying Up


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I have a year one class who are generally well behaved with no major issues (just a lot of niggly things that we're working on). There is a huge issue though which I'm at a loss with. We're 6 weeks into the term and my classroom seems to be getting destroyed everyday!

 

As a class the children seem to have no respect for anything in the classroom (books, toys, resources, etc) and at tidy up time will just shove things back wherever they feel like it, meaning I find things all over the place and things keep getting lost. The other part time teacher has commented that she's never had such a destructive class in all her years in teaching either! It's not that they are deliberately destroying things through bad behaviour, they are just careless, thoughtless and have no respect for things.

 

I have no idea how to get this issue sorted. I've tried setting up expectations, I've tried having circle time chats about looking after resources and why this is important, I've tried rewards for good tidying up, but nothing seems to work. I think the problem is that actually the children have never been taught the skill set necessary to actually treat items with care and tidy up properly. The only thing they seem to respond to in general in lessons is small group step by step instructions, but when it comes to tidy up time this is very difficult! Anyone got any ideas about tidying up that have worked well in their class, or ways to help teach the children respect for resources - I'm thinking the latter is probably something I'm just going to have to keep plugging away at!

 

Thanks in advance!

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could you group the children so they tidy one resource/area and do it as a bit of a competition- with a chart to cover the week so they all get lots of chances to be the best tidy upers(?) - they could then have their photos on a board saying soemthing like the tidy up kings and queens / prince and princesses this week are .........................

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Not sure if this will help but.l...

 

could it be more of an issue that they don't know where things go?

 

I'm in a Pre-school with 2-4 year olds, so maybe slightly different, but our room also seems to get trashed quite regularly!!

 

I have a large basket and if things seem particularly messy, at tidy up time everything on the floor just goes into the basket. Then the children line up and each take something from the basket that they know where it belongs, or I pass out things and say 'in the dinosaur box, in the doll's house box, in the home corner', etc. or 'Johnny can you show Jim where this car belongs please'.

 

Although our children are much younger, they actually love this tidy up time, it doesn't take long and we make it very jolly. Sometimes I hold things up and say 'who knows where this goes' and it's amazing how many children suddenly know where it belongs - they all want to be the helpful one!!

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This is going to sound harsh but it will solve your problem.

 

Explain to the children that you have decided that any resources that are not put back properly will have to be taken away for one week, in a kind of 'time out' for toys. You could even ham it up and say that there must be a 'naughty spell' that's been cast on the toys for them to end up in such a state, and that they have to be quarantined to get rid of it. As soon as the children see that treating something badly means missing out on it for a week, they will make the choice to put stuff away properly. Peer pressure will probably come into play as the more sensible ones encourage the less sensible ones.

 

Give it a try - I bet it works!

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I've definitely found that it is a culture thing. If one child is just carelessly chucking toys into the nearest box then others around them copy pretty quickly.

 

I watch them and make a big fuss of any child who is being careful and doing the job properly; "Well done xxxx. I can see that you really care about our toys. That is so nice because next time we want to play with this it will all be in the right place and it will be so much more fun to play with! I'll be watching to see you tidying up nicely again next time." It sounds like you are already doing this.

 

I'm really 'disappointed' whenever I find something in the wrong box and sometimes engineer matters so that I find it just before we are doing something nice which is then delayed while we put things where they should be. If the children find that the job takes longer when they don't do it properly they eventaully realise it's worth doing it properly the first time. That one does take a lot of plugging away and leaving extra time for tidying for a while.

 

You cold also try asking the children to watch each other and choose a person who has been the most respectful of the resources or been most careful to put things in the right place. Then it isn't reliant on you seeing what is happening.

 

I hope you find a way to turn them into good little helpers soon.

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Normally I'd agree totally on that 'looking for the positive' approach but this is Year One, i.e. they are 5 or 6 years old. Let's face they KNOW how to put toys away properly, they are just not bothering to do it. It's different in a pre-school where some might still have to be shown. I think you're right about the culture thing it can spread so easily!

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Hi,

I wonder how they tidied up when in their Reception class. Is it worth asking their previous teacher what happened and whether there were specific words or signals that they responded to? I inherited a class that only responded to certain types of music for tidying up as they had been used to this everyday in their previous class. I began to think I was going mad when they didn't respond to my signals but after talking to the previous teacher and then explaining to the class that when I said.... it meant.... (used the terminology that previous teacher used at this point) things improved dramatically.

I also agree with the post about encouraging them all to be responsible for different areas of the classroom and rewarding the tidiest areas in some way.

 

Hope you find a way forward soon.

Nicky Sussex :oxD

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Hi there -

Like Blondie, we've used 'Tidy Teams' giving each group an area for, say, a week, then rotated round. The children chose their team names and there were charts and rewards up for grabs. have found it pretty effective and the good thing is that they then have no excuse for not knowing where anything ljves. Last thought, but know have made same mistake myself in past (!) you don't just need to prune the amount of stuff available to them in the first place? Hope it settles soon - it's just so wearing isn't it ?

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oooo you are so not alone! my lot are the same. i had a chat and told them the same...if you dont look after our resources we will have a dull classroom etc etc the usual you have all heard it before..... but this one shocked me

i explained that some o fthe resources i bought not school i did for them as i saw them and thought they would like them. but the had been broken and explained that if tyou are not going to look after them and etc etce etc then i wont buy anything else...and i am sure that at home if things get broken mum and dad would say the same thing only to be told by a 4 years old well when i break my toys my mum just buys me more :o

 

that's what we are up against... expectations differ xD

 

it is impossible to challenge that one isnt it

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Its heart breaking sometimes, i took my sons playmobile in to my setting because he had grown out of it, it was in perfect condition no bits missing in the 11years we had it, 1 week at pre school and there were bits missing and broken off! Its a shame because now im not going to take anymore in for them and i have loads!!! :o

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Thanks for all your ideas! I totally agree with what some of you are saying about the toys getting trashed, it's so disheartening to see how little care they take of them. The thing is these are children who at home will just get stuck in front of the TV or xbox or whatever, they have no idea how to properly respect toys because they don't know how to use them.

 

That said, they are in year one not reception so they should have learnt these things by now; unfortunately they seem to have come up without a lot of the basic social skills they should have been taught in reception so basically I'm trying to juggle teaching them stuff like that along with the demands of the year one curriculum and introduce continuous provision as well. It's really getting wearing at the moment.

 

I'm going to perhaps try taking things away if they can't look after them, I think the time has come for a really tough approach since nothing else seems to be working. I'll try using it alongside continuing to praise the good ones and being a bit stricter about the amount of noise at tidy up time - they really seem to have gone wild this week. Hopefully all these things combbined will have some effect!

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