I’m starting a new feature called Field Notes where I’ll occasionally showcase organizing items of interest such as: business organization, client success stories, organizing products, programs, etc. You know, I share a lot of my personal thoughts, ideas and tips on how to organize in my blog posts…I thought it might be a good idea to supplement those blogs with real-world examples. So, as I’m out and about and I come across a business, an item of interest or an organizing concept, I’ll share it with you. I’ll also highlight how you might be able to emulate that business or use an item or concept to organize your own space in a section I’ll call Key Take Aways.
With that, I wanted to showcase a preschool classroom for my first Field Notes post. Have you ever wondered how preschool and kindergarten teachers keep their sanity? Seriously, how are they able to get those youngsters to put away all their toys and to take their naps on que? Two ways: organization, organization, organization and routine, routine, routine! I know I’ve said this a couple of times before, if you want a great example of how to organize, just check out a preschool or kindergarten classroom.
Discovery Point at Lexington Oaks in Wesley Chapel, Florida is a perfect example of this. This is where my daughter went to school. She was so happy there and I’m convinced it was because the staff was incredible and because they were so organized. And when I say organized, I’m not just talking about the facility being immaculate…I’m also talking about the administrative and teaching staff too. They had daily and weekly schedules that they followed to a tee and had specific routines for the children to follow as well. Those routines definitely had an impact on my daughter because she knew what to expect and what was expected of her. I won’t name names, but a previous school my daughter attended was not as well organized and I instantly knew it was because they were not consistent with their schedules and routines which left my daughter confused and upset. This is one reason why I’m such an advocate of routines when it comes to your children and organization.
So, let me highlight the key take aways and organizational features I loved about my daughters classroom at Discovery Point.
Key Take Aways
Use Zones: The classroom was clearly defined by zones…play zone, activity and crafts zone, eating zone, cubbies storage zone, reading zone and cleanup zone. You too can organize by zone in each space in your home. Go beyond thinking about organizing by room…organize by zone too.
Use Labels: The classroom labeled everything from the children’s individual cubbies, to their toys, and play areas. Not only were they labeled with words but with pictures too since most of the children were too young to read. You might want to try this in your own children’s rooms and play areas. Labeling helps everyone know where to find things and where to return them.
Use Containers: To maintain clutter, they stored “like items with like items” in separate containers. The containers were clear so that the contents were easily seen and they were open (without lids) to make getting things out and putting them away much easier. You know I’m a HUGE fan of containers and bins! Containers come in particularly handy in pantries, bathrooms, play areas and the garage. Storing items (especially small items) individually on shelves can be cumbersome and annoying. Putting like items in containers keeps them from toppling over and prevents you from constantly having to rearrange them.
(Note: These cubbies are empty. The full cubbies were actually labeled with the name and picture of each child…an excellent way to organize and help the kids identify their own cubby. I chose this picture to protect the privacy of the children).
Establish and Implement Routines: This is key! The children knew that before craft time they had to put away their toys. Before reading time they had to clean up their crafts. Before going to lunch they had to put their books away. And before taking a nap they had to eat and clean up the table. Implementing routines in your home and sticking to them will greatly cut down on your clutter and frustration! I use a lot of these same rules with my children. It takes a couple of weeks of encouragement but then it gets to a point where they know what to do with few reminders.
So, you can probably see why I’m such a fan of this school. What about you? Can you see yourself implementing these concepts in your own space? Do you have a space or know someone else who has a space where they’ve adopted these same concepts. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I love hearing and learning about new ways to organize!