SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDER
I've had the pleasure of working as a child care provider for many years, and I've learned a lot about keeping my workspace clean and organized. So I wanted to share some tidbits of spring cleaning tips specifically for any friend looking forward to child care providers. Doing a little spring cleaning will help you feel more organized and refreshed and make the space more uncomplicated and safe for the children.
Decluttering the "teacher's closet"
Sometimes it feels like your closet is constantly all over the map, and it can be taxing to keep on top of things when there's so much to organize, like flashcards & small manipulative toys, let alone the crayons. I suggest starting by designating one bucket or box for items that you constantly use or take out with you. This could be anything from flashcards to tiny figurines. Anything that doesn't fall into this category can be put into another basket labeled "for seasonal use." For example, I might keep a few small dinosaurs in my teaching box to use for counting activities, but I would put a larger stash of them away in a "seasonal bin" until the next time we do a dinosaur unit. Compared to having them all over the place in your closet, taking up valuable space. It's plain sailing to grab what you need when they're all in categorized areas.
Throw out broken toys/books
I understand that it can be tough to part with even the most broken of toys, but sometimes they take up too much spacing. If you have any toys or books beyond repair, it's okay to toss them. Alternatively, you could try to repurpose them into something new. For example, if you have a few broken crayons, you could melt them down and use them to make a new crayon color. If the toy is too damaged, you could always take pictures of it and use them in a collage or scrapbook. If you're comfortable donating them, you could also try to donate them to a local charity or school. But the point here is that you want to create more space in your classroom by getting rid of anything that's no longer usable.
Replace broken furniture in the classroom
This one might be a little out of your control, but if you have any broken furniture in your classroom, it's essential to replace it as soon as possible. Not only is it dangerous for kids to be around broken furniture, but it can also be a tripping hazard. So if you notice any broken furniture in your classroom, try as much to report it to the child care director and get it replaced as soon as possible.
Organize your lesson plans/activity plans.
If you've been teaching early learners for a while, you know that having a lesson plan is everything. I mean, not only do lesson plans help us keep on track, but they also provide a road map for our students. That's why it's essential to organize your lesson plans in a way that makes sense for you. I suggest keeping all of your current plans in one place (either digital or hard copy). Plans in place make it easy to grab and go when you need to. In addition, I also suggest keeping a master copy of all of your lesson plans in case you ever need to reprint them or if something happens to your original copies. I usually keep my master copy in a three-ring binder, and I also make sure to back it up on my computer. Some colleagues prefer to keep all of their plans digital, and that's perfectly fine too. The important thing is to find a system that reduces stress and makes accessibility a little bit easier.
Prioritize your mental and physical health
Yep, this one is important. Teaching can be highly stressful, which is why it's essential to make sure that you're taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. I suggest having a specific time of the day set aside for checking emails, planning lessons, etc. This will help you to avoid constantly working and stressing yourself out. Imagine checking clerical work as soon as you enter the classroom or every time you eat a meal. It's not healthy, and it's not sustainable in the long run. To dismiss all doubt about taking care of yourself, even during the busiest times of the year, "TAKE CARE YOURSELF." The tipping point is to figure out a balance that works for you.
Clear any dust traces
My final tip is to try and clear any dust traces in your classroom. Not only is it unsanitary, but it can also aggravate allergies. I suggest using a duster or a vacuum cleaner to get the job done. If you have any significant spills or stains, I recommend using a cleaning solution to address the issue. The result? A clean and healthy classroom for both you and your students. You can also request a deep cleanse of the premises every once to ensure that everything is spick and span.
Cleaning & decluttering your classroom can be cranky work sometimes, but it's definitely worth its weight in gold in the long run. Not only will you have a more neat room to teach and play with your learners, but you'll also be setting an excellent model for your kids. By teaching them how to declutter and codify their environment, you're teaching them to be responsible and proactive citizens. And that's something worth celebrating.
First Green (2022). Cleaning tips for day care centers. Retrieved from: click here
Child Care Specialist
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