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Moving the children from outside to inside, and tidy up time


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Hi everyone, I've just joined, so apologies if I have put this in the wrong place or if it has already been covered - I did a quick search but couldn't find anything. 

Anyway, my problem is this:  I have one nursery class (Northern Ireland)  of 26 children aged 3-4, and one nursery assistant.  When we tidy up I put on a tidy up song as a cue to start (I also verbally remind them beforehand that it will be happening soon).  When we start, some children tidy and quite a few others start to run about the room and get quite 'hyper'.  I realise the music is very jolly, and I have tried different tempos, or not putting music on at all and using a shaker for instance, but it is very hard to stop some of the running about.  We try to model tidying up, and obviously do it with the children, but it is very difficult to manage the behaviours sometimes when we start.

Straight after tidy up time we go outside.  This presents my second problem: Our hallway is tiny, and I am having difficulty stopping the children from rushing towards the door to get out after tidy up time, and then pushing and shoving in the small hallway.  The problem is that the room needs to be tidied before we go out because our routine is outdoor play and then story, and my nursery assistant re-sets it when I am reading story so the tables need to be cleared, but as the room gets tidied I realise children are 'milling about' and I know that is why the behaviour starts.  I have tried to let some out first with my nursery assistant, but our playground and nursery are as such that when me or my assistant go out by ourselves it is hard to see all of the children, or to see the other member of staff if someone falls for instance.  It is a little easier now that it is getting warmer and children are not wearing coats, but when we need coats it is tricky.  There is a class set of waterproofs, but I haven't even attempted this yet, which I know is a shame.  I am new to the class this year, and I know the previous teacher lined them up for outside play, and they waited in line to get their coats on, but I don't want to do this, because I think they will still push and shove, and be standing around doing nothing for this time, waiting.  Also, I just don't like the idea of 'lining up' nursery children.  I would prefer the transition to not stop and start as much.

What I am trying to do is to make these transition times as 'flowing' as possible, so that the children are not standing about doing nothing, or running around.  I realise it is my classroom management that is the problem, so I was just looking for advice.

Thanks in anticipation.

HD

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could you split the group in two...one group going to get changed and the other tidying half the class then swop? an adult with each......maybe make it a little competitive between the two groups?!? i don't like tidy up music but we do have a tidy up song then gather everyone and give small groups small tasks which appears to work better. All of our children do waterproofs themselves...but it takes practice and patience but once they've got it it gets quicker and easier. If you choose to go with the 'groups' solution pick your children carefully so you don't have all the over active ones together!

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the adult in charge will sing the song ..either

clap your hands and wiggle your fingers x 3

time to tidy up now please.

(make up your own tune! can't for the life of me what the tune is!)

or

just "abracadabra alacazam time to tidy up as quick as you can"

I don't have many who won't tidy up at this time of year because they know something good comes next. I do have one who refuses but that's because he has SEND needs and it would mean he needs to comply which would be tricky for him!!! I tend to find divide and conquer seems to work well....the smaller the group the less likely there are to be issues

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We work on the same theory or all will tidy the same space, we also have photos of the area/table/shelf in a mess next to what each is expected to look like once tidy, only the odd one that will suddenly need to go to the toilet, I’m sure you can tell even at this age who will be the doers and donters as adults :-) 

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Yes we abandoned the tidy up music a long time ago for the same reasons, it just hypes some up.  It worked well for a long time, but then the group changed and dynamics changed and we never went back to it.

We get the children together, this is best done for us by turning all the lights out initially for a short time especially in September, the children can get a bit unsettled by it so they go back on really quickly, but this is their signal to assemble in our soft area.   It's only ever used  to get them together to sit and bit fairly quiet.   Once they are assembled they are then assigned jobs to go and tidy, as the year progresses they pull out a number from a bag and that's the number of things they are asked to tidy, we try to make it a little competitive, or play different games to get them to gather up stuff, who can find ....... etc.       I rarely  moan about them not tidying away the thing they have been asked to.     There seems little point.    Later in the year we have teams, red team,  blue team - against each other, they have a team leader, could be an adult and they are sent to specific areas of the pre-school to tidy.     Partly, the trick is not to get in a great mess to begin with, so tidy as you go.   However, some days that's like ground  hog day.

 

 

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Our children this year seem to be all on a mission to empty every box and tray and transport anything and everything as far away from its proper place as possible! This can happen in the blink of an eye! We do try and keep a lid on it by tidying up as we go along but some days....!

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This really is one of those things that can change year of year or even term to term, depending on the children. Over the years I must have tried so many different ways.. 

We too had an issue with transitions in and out as we all had to move at the same time, no freeflow and a short narrow corridor between the two.. 

We did however line up some of the time, nothing wrong with learning a simple skill that also helped with fore drill and other times when it was necessary for children to listen and be 'under control' -for want of a better phrase.

I never used music though other than a song we sang together or while doing the task in hand. Usually spontaneous and made up by a member of staff at the time if needed.  Children tended to join in and if sometimes helped.  (time to put the toys away, toys away, toys away, - to mulberry bush was a favourite)

One thing I did was to change the wording of the task- on reflection I wondered what tidy up really meant to a 3yr old.. and so we decided to use a different phrase.. time to put the toys away -As staff we decided it described the action we were asking them to do,less arbitrary than tidy up.. . 

Other things we did was call them together and give them tasks in groups, one completed the task they would get outdoor clothes and put them on.. once one group was there the others tended to speed up, all wanted to be outdoors first.. 

Put things away as they go.. not always possible but they mostly got the hang of it.. 

Once some were ready we did send one of us outside with others following.. we used a walky-talky between staff if needed- 

Milling children- I have one year had children all find a book to look at while waiting for others to finish.. they found a book and sat on a carpet area.. in sight they enjoyed this and for that group it worked.. or I would send them to help another group or child. 

We found it was all about trying to find the best for the children, and for us to keep our sanity at the same time, if that meant queues and lines we did it, what worked one year seldom worked another ;)

 

 

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Thanks very much everyone for these detailed replies. This is really helping. The idea of gathering together and then assigning jobs, or getting into groups seems to be a common idea among everyone and is definitely something I will try. 

Thanks for your  perspective on lining up Inge. I agree with you regarding fire drills and the usefulness of it sometimes. I will definitely think about that. Walkie talkies is a good idea too, and what you said about responding to the changing dynamics of the group each year, and rephrasing to 'put the toys away so thanks for that.

Panders, thank you for your comments too, especially 're the music and lights out for gathering attention.  All useful advice, thank you.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi 

we allocate children certain areas to tidy up with their key person. The same area every day so children learn what is expected in their area. we find this works well. children then sit on our carpeted area when finished before we invite them to line up. 

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So glad (in a way) that this is not just a problem for me!

In my room, the children look at books independently when we are tidied up, but I often send some children who can't tidy or who are slowing down the process to look at books before we are finished to stop the 'milling'.

Glad to read peoples reflections and I like the idea of saying 'time to put the toys away' rather than tidy up time. (There is always one child who just mills round saying, "tidy up time!", to everyone else). And also glad to read that tidy up music isn't helping, as we seem to be spending a lot of time looking for the perfect piece of music!

Good luck!

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  • 5 weeks later...
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