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Tidy- Up Time


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Hi

I'm working as an NQT in a nursery that is part of a primary school. In the afternoon I'm on my own with 13 children, most of whom are barely 3 years old and started last week or yesterday. Tidy up time at the moment is a nightmare, which I know it to be expected, but I was wondering whether anyone had any wonderful ideas up their sleave for improving things. I tried to have a quick chat with them about it today, which they listened carefully to and then went away to play with the toys not tidy up. I'm not expecting miracles from them, but realise there is probably something more I could do to make things better...

 

Elfy

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Something we do is have a board with pictures of all the areas in the unit. We then allocate the children an area, which it is their responsiblity to tidy at tidy up time. We group less experienced with 'old hands' and there's always adult support. It's amazing how quickly they become proprietorial and compete to be the first to finish, or the very tidiest :o

 

Sue

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Gosh you must be tired come the end of a day. :o:(

 

Tidy-up time is the bain of most settings, different strategies work at different times depending on the individual children in the group. You will always have the child who tidys up straight away, some even tidy as they play, others as soon as they are asked will try every diversionary tactic going :wacko: . Then you get the ones who once they have been told it's tidy-up time, walk around calling out to everyone else "Tidy-up time, Tidy-up time" I tricked them once by saying " up time tidy, up time tidy, just to check if they were really listening to me. :( They said "no, it's tidy up time" I replied "are you?, good, well done, let me help you"

 

It needs to happen very quickly or children get bored and start 'playing' with items they should be tidying xD

 

I also give a warning prior to tidy up time, "finish........we have 5 minutes and then it's time to tidy up" ( I often point to the clock when the big hand is on the 4) or "you can finish your model etc after our walk, but first we need to tidy up the other toys" ( also a motivator, child likes going on walks)

 

here are a few more strategies that can help; ( not in any particular order)

 

Make clear the difference between tidy-up and clear/put away. Sometimes children will put something away that another child was wanting to play with later, ie: a puzzle, sometimes it is ok to pick peices off the floor but leave the puzzle on the table for later, other times the puzzle needs to be put back in the draw ( end of day)

 

Have labelled / pictured draws, boxes, containers etc ( easier to find where things go)

 

Encourage children to tidy as they play, saying, put .....away first before you get...."

 

MAKE IT FUN - with music, whilst singing a song with a strong beat, races- can you put the lego away before .Sam can put the duplo away? Sorting- who can find all the blue balls and post them in this box? Who can find the most red balls? ( ball pool balls are a particular pain for me- until we got some large pipes that balls can roll down straight into the box :( )

 

You will hear "I didn't play with it" I always answer, "maybe not but if you had to put everything away that you did play with this morning, you would be very busy, it's great that your friends are helping you, now we can help your friends too" The shirkers (for want of a better term) respond best if 'teacher' joins in with them, or they are encouraged to tidy with one other child.

 

Lots of praise for tidyness, making sure everyone hears you praising others.

 

I never give stickers for children's tidying up, I teach them it is expected behaviour, to look after the toys ( the reward being, you can find them when you want them next). Stickers would mean everyone would have earnt one every day. xD

 

Hope this helps, I'm sure there are many other ideas, others have tried too.

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

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Hi,

 

We put a CD on 5 mins before we tidy up and let it play for about a minute. Once the minute is up we switch the music off and the children have learnt that this is the time to tidy up. It's quite funny actually because when I listen to them chatting amongst themselves I can hear them shouting their friends "it's the tidy up music QUICK!" I find a nice peaceful CD works best...as the party music just makes them want to get up and dance! :)

 

Lu x

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I dont think the tidying up issue is unusual, especially when the children are new into nursery and you have had loads of ideas on how to deal with that but I am concerned that you are alone with 13 children. Although theoretically that is the ratio, in practise it is very difficult to be in that situation. Is this going to continue? I would be questioning longterm the health and safety issues that could arise. Can you ask for advice?

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Thanks for all your ideas, it's great to have you all at hand. It's easy to forget the best ideas when things are stressed, sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and snap out of flight or flight and remember what I can do!!

Thanks for your concern Susan - I too am concerned especially with new children starting and crying as their mum leaves. Parents actually had to wait their turn today for me to settle children in turn. I know its my job and as you say the legal ratio, but it's really hard!! I have every intention of talking with the head about it, but she is also new so very busy at the moment, but I think she will listen.

Thanks again

 

Elfy

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Guest DeborahF

Having music to tidy up to really worked well in our nursery and we used it as an opportunity to intoduce the children to lots of different types of music. A couple of times, the children themselves brought CDs in that they wanted played for tidy up time...I remember one particular day when we were all marching round tidying up to "Is this the way to Amarillo?"!!! A never to be forgotten experience!

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