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July 30, 2013

ERS Moment: Material Organization

“Moving from good to great is not a difference of miles, its millimeters.” – Anonymous

Material organization, though simple, plays a significant role in both the ERS as well as classroom management. When children know where their toys are their classroom is set up for success then everybody wins! So ask yourself these simple questions:Blog1

  • Do I have defined centers? Toddlers (carpet toys shelf, fine motor/table top toys shelf, block shelf) and preschool/prek (carpet toys, fine motor/writing/literacy shelf, math/science shelf, blocks shelf).
  • Are the correct materials FOR that center located there? Can you tell which play center it is meant to be? For example, in a toddler room does your carpet toy self have toys meant for play in a large space such as musical instruments, large floor puzzles, linking toys?
  • Are your shelves located in the space they are intended? Your carpet shelf should be facing the circle time rug. The fine motor/writing & Math/science shelves should be facing a table (as they are intended to be table top toys). And, the block shelf should be facing the block rug.
  • Are your shelves labeled with pictures? By labeling shelves with pictures, children will know where they belong and with a little encouragement and routine, they will be quite the handy helpers when it is time to pick up.
  • Do you incorporate children during clean up time? This is not something to be forced, but to make a part of daily routine. Meaning, even if you have a couple children who begin to get in the habit of putting away a few toys, maintenance will be much more manageable. Routine, as opposed to forced participation will make this possible.

Blog2General toys are located on these shelves (however if not on this list and the item is in question, think about the toys purpose and place based on that quality):

  • Carpet Shelf (musical instruments, linking toys, floor puzzles, bean bags, duplo blocks)
  • Fine Motor Shelf/Table Top Toys (wooden puzzles, pegs, stringing beads)
  • Writing/Literacy Shelf (magnadoodle, letter puzzles, magnet letters with small white boards)
  • Math/Science Shelf (counting bears, unifix cubes, color links with number match, shape match, magnet kit, floating items kit, scale, magnifying glasses)
  • Block Shelf (large plastic blocks, wooden blocks, lincoln logs, soft blocks, animals, cars [preferably the ones with moving wheels and any other car sets that can go to the carpet shelf], and people)Blog3
  • Art Cart (variety of art materials such as glue, crayons, feathers, dobbers, chalk, paper, newspaper, stampers, ink pads, [scissors only when age appropriate], stencils, etc.)