Leah Zabari

I am sure by now that you all have seen the Netflix show, Tidying Up with Maria Kondo who works with her clients to clear out their clutter and choose joy. I don’t know about you, but after binge-watching those episodes I went straight to Walmart and bought a dozen storage containers, dumped out all my clothes to refold them Maria’s way, and boxed up a million things I haven’t used in forever to give away to the local homeless shelter. Fast forward three months from watching the show and decluttering, and I am still finding things to “tidy up” but let me tell you something…I FEEL GREAT!  

There are times when I go into classrooms to conduct ERS and CLASS assessments when I must take five or 10 minutes before starting the assessment just to walk around the room and stop my head from spinning. Materials and toys spilling out from bins, torn books shoved in a bookshelf, overwhelming amounts of displays… you get the point. I once had an administrator yell at me for having a tissue box out on a shelf- I am not talking about being that kind of crazy tidy! I am talking about taking time to tidy up your classroom in a way that promotes independence for children, where parents can easily find important information on the wall, and an environment that creates an atmosphere of learning, not chaos. 

Have you ever thought that the disorganization and clutter in the classroom could be the cause of undesired behaviors in your class?In 2011, the Journal of Neuroscience published a study on the impact of too many varied objects in a child’s field of view, and the effect it has on their ability to focus. Some people call it being overstimulated. In this case, it is not the bright, loud television or animated conversation that is the culprit, it is the messy, cluttered, train wreck of a house (or classroom) that is the issue. Lack of focus leads to slowed learning in toddlers. Cleaning an extra hour or so a week may help learning move forward for your little ones.  

So, ask yourself the following questions 

  1. Do you really need 20 baby dolls or 50 books on the bookshelf? Use the ERS scale books for expectations on the number of materials and toys as a guideline. 
  1. Is there too much unnecessary paper work hanging on your walls? Sort through documents that only the staff need to see and those that parents need to view. (Check out the recent blog article written by our guest blogger, Kate Berger titled Postings, Postings, Everywhere). 
  1. Are your displays age appropriate? If not, consider taking them down. 
  1. Are there safety and health issues related to the clutter in your classroom? 




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