I just spent the last month cleaning out a WHOLE lot of clutter.
As a general rule, most of the preschool clutter around my school ends up in our teacher office, supply closet, my garage, and in my basement. Everyone around here gets in a big hurry and drops things off with the intention of putting it away later, but it doesn’t take long before little piles of clutter turn into BIG piles of clutter and then it is a MAJOR job to put everything away.
Clutter outside of the classroom is one thing, but clutter inside the classroom is a whole other problem. When my classroom gets cluttered, I start to feel completely lost and out of control.
Clutter in the classroom is like clatter in the brain.
Clutter can undermine your efforts to stay motivated and inspired and it doesn’t model good organizational skills for your students. Clutter…
- Lowers the standard of classroom care and responsibility.
- Increases anxiety for both the teacher and the children.
- And leaves an unprofessional impression on those who come to visit your classroom.
As a side note, clutter is different than messy. Young children need to feel the freedom to make messes as they explore. If you start to obsess about the mess, then you can undermine the children’s confidence to fully engage in classroom experiences for fear they might make a mess. I have absolutely no problem with children making messes in the course of everyday play and exploration, but when unnecessary classroom clutter (left-over Starbucks cups on counter tops, crayons behind the shelves, stacks of papers on the tops of cubbies, unwashed paint brushes left next to the sink for days) is added to the children’s normal messiness – then I start to feel crazy.
Before You Head Back to School, Go On a Clutter Alert
If you never go on a clutter hunt around your classroom, consider this your CLUTTER ALERT. Look for clutter in places like on top of counter tops, inside cabinets, underneath and behind classroom shelves, and even inside classroom centers and baskets. In the photo above, the shelf is set up for a very intentional process as well as everyday play. However, I happened to move it during my clutter patrol the other day and found lots of our missing colored pencils and a very nice assortment of beads underneath.