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tidy up time


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I used to use 'tidy-up' cards - and still do sometimes. They worked really well. At 11.05 a.m. the 'Special Helper' would be asked to tell the children and teachers that it is 'five minutes to tidy-up time' after which all the children gather together and I would give out the 'tidy-up cards' - these consist of a photograph of every piece of equipment/toy or area. The photographs are mounted onto A5 card and laminated - each photo was labelled with the name of the object or area. I would give a card to individual, pairs or small groups of children and they go off to tidy 'their area'. The children are always eager to tidy up and the card helps to give them a sense of importance. There were sometimes arguments about who would be in charge of looking after/carrying the card but generally it worked well. Some of the younger children are helped by having a photo of the object and it is good to pair 'certain' children or to encourage teamwork. When I worked in a non-maintained nursery, Ofsted always loved this! I also used music and a 5 minute timer when needed.

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we dont use music any more, a member of staff felt it was "whipping up" the children too much, so we tried a different tack. We give a five minute warning to all, that tidy up time is coming. Then we turn off the lights briefly and the children all gather together on the rug. When they are settled we ask them to look around the room - and we give out jobs for them to do it generally works for us. When we feel the children have done enough to help they are asked to return to the rug where one of the adults then waves around the tidy up star and singles some of the children out for praise, sometimes we vary that with stickers for good tidying. That adult then plays a simple whole group game in order to send the children out one by one to wash their hands before snack time, we still have whole group snack time at ours.

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We did used to have music at tidy up time but at times we felt it made them over enthusiastic and all they did was ran around the hall.

We do give them a warning before we intend to tidy up. Do other settings use any other visual prompts at tidy up time?

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I used to use 'tidy-up' cards - and still do sometimes. They worked really well. At 11.05 a.m. the 'Special Helper' would be asked to tell the children and teachers that it is 'five minutes to tidy-up time' after which all the children gather together and I would give out the 'tidy-up cards' - these consist of a photograph of every piece of equipment/toy or area. The photographs are mounted onto A5 card and laminated - each photo was labelled with the name of the object or area. I would give a card to individual, pairs or small groups of children and they go off to tidy 'their area'. The children are always eager to tidy up and the card helps to give them a sense of importance. There were sometimes arguments about who would be in charge of looking after/carrying the card but generally it worked well. Some of the younger children are helped by having a photo of the object and it is good to pair 'certain' children or to encourage teamwork. When I worked in a non-maintained nursery, Ofsted always loved this! I also used music and a 5 minute timer when needed.

Thank you for your response. By the time I had written my previous response you had replied with yours. This was the kind of thing I was looking for. I am going to look at this further.

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As devonmaid and panders said, it helps if you are quite clear about what you want them to do. Tidying up is quite a vague term and even in my house, we have very different ideas about what 'tidy' is, and so whilst children are learning, you need to be clear. Can you put all of the lego into this box; take all these toys out of the sand and put them here etc etc. Time spent supporting and modelling this early on pays dividends later. I think the 5 minute warning works well too so children are not surprised by the call to tidy up.

 

Good luck with it

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We use the 5 minuites and timer warning- then we all gather on the carpet, each child has a name card, this is placed in the area they help tidy. We give out stickers for great tidying ( they love stickers !) we also let the ' star tidier' help do the register ( with their own register and special pen lol !)

We always get the same few who don't help - but as soon as they do even the tiniest bit we give loads of praise

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Tidy is always stressful and the time I hate the most, we use 5 mins ring a bell have a song we all stop and do the actions for then we all tidy up, direction is really helpful, but there are always those that think it's clever to out smart me and hide, well let me tell you boys and girls I have eyes in the back of my head :))

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Guest youngrisers

on a visit to Norway we sang our way through Tidying up time it was lovely so I adopted this and we now sing at every transition about tidy up. makes the day more pleasant, rewards help too such as golden stickers for being good tidy uppers even had some children wanting their photo's taken ... some children just cannot be bothered think mummy may always do it?

Not in my household.....

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We give our children a 5 minute warning by ringing a bell (to which they all stop and put their hands in the air [supposedly]) then ring the bell again and get them to all come and sit on the carpet.

 

We then send them off to each area in small groups with an adult to tidy that area. It worked for the majority but we still had a few, especially the older children, who were still not engaging in tidying up.

 

So I turned it into a challenge. We all come and sit down, but we become "team Pre-School Room" and our challenge is to tidy the messy nursery by everyone finding 3 items to tidy away. We then to a hands in (all the children put a hand in on top of mine and we shout "Team Pre School Room!") and they go off to tidy up. Bar the odd straggler (who is going through a stubborn period right now), they all engage in it.

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this year I used the thinking behind ABC Does's 'skill levels' and broke down the task so that, depending on age / stage some children were to simply pick up items and put them in a collection tray, others were to sort the items into groups that 'go together' and finally another group collected items from the tray AND put back in the right places.

We also did some specific work as a group on all these skills / stages - and to start with we did it altogether - using a tuff spot to collect everything that was not in the right place (huge pile usually!) and then we held up items and asked "where does this go?" and when everyone was in agreement the item was taken back 'home'.

To get the idea of putting things are 'in the right places' we'd take out a 'tidied' basket and check together to see if everything in it actually belonged there - and if not volunteers were encouraged to show everyone where it does belong.

We found that after several sessions older children were spontaneously 'checking' and telling us - "look this is not in the right place is it!" and then taking it back :-)

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Just a random idea- I observed a setting who had two children wearing high vis vests to carry out a risk assessment after tidy up time. They went around with a clip board and list (with photos of the areas) that they ticked off if the areas are safe. Apparently ofsted loved this and since then I have also seen an ofsted good practice video (YouTube) with the same idea but with a child in a police officer uniform. Im going to use this idea in my setting. Generally the children are quite good, but I thought for the children who aren't as keen, having this important job might enthuse them!

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