2 Centralize equipment. To reduce clutter in your room, move large items that can be shared with other classrooms to a central storage area.
3 Promote independent cleanup. Locate the art center where there is hard-surface flooring, so children can easily mop up messy spills. Keep a dustpan and small broom handy to sweep up paper scraps and sand. At a nearby sink, add a small step stool so children can carefully reach to wash their hands and art tools.
4 Offer visual clues. Store materials in clear containers on low shelves so children can quickly see where to return things. Label storage areas and containers with hand-drawn symbols, outlines of toys, catalog pictures, or photos, so children can see at a quick glance where the materials should go.
5 Signal cleanup time. Give a five-minute warning so children know to begin to wrap up their play. Use consistent signals.
6 Think ahead. Place a drop cloth under messy projects such as painting or clay work. Then, shake out the mess outside, or bundle it up and throw it away. Place storage containers and buckets right next to work and play areas for convenience.
7 Make it easy. Use simple picture charts with sequential directions for tasks such as cleaning the snack table. This will help children successfully duplicate the cleanup process on their own. Keep cleanup supplies on low, open shelves.
8 Store classroom materials creatively. Use sand pails to hold and carry sand toys at cleanup time. Sort tiny items into egg-carton compartments so they don't become lost. Wrap leftover yarn around empty potato chip cylinders or plastic soda bottles so it doesn't become knotted.
9 Involve children with recycling. Provide separate trash bins so children can properly throw away paper, cans, and garbage after snack or lunch. Have a small container on the art table for paper scraps, so they can be reused for interesting collages. Keep a covered plastic pail nearby to collect dried bits of clay. Recycle them by slightly dampening the clay.
10 Hold a spring-cleaning party. Invite families, children, and volunteers. Indoors, repaint walls and furniture, and scrub toys. Outdoors, trim bushes, replenish resilient surfacing, and sand splintery and rusty spots on equipment.