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Cleanup time is an important part of the session when teachers guide preschoolers to put away the materials they have used in the learning centers and get ready for group time.

Consider using photos to show where materials should be placed to help preschoolers know what to do. The photos can show insides of cabinets and cabinet tops and shelves.


Supplies for Cleanup Time Idea:

  • camera
  • printed photos (inside cabinets and in home area; shelves for art supplies,  blocks, and nature items)
  • tape


1. Prepare room for photographs by arranging basic materials in cabinets and shelves in learning centers.

2. Photograph insides of cabinets and shelves.

3. Tape printed copies of the photos on the cabinets and shelves to show how the items are arranged.

Teaching Tips:

  • Plan cleanup time to avoid preschoolers feeling rushed to finish an activity.
  • Consider ringing a small bell or playing a specific song to signal the start of cleanup time.
  • Avoid saying something like “clean up the room” or “put away things.” Preschoolers need specific directions. Say: “Look at the pictures” to guide boys and girls to know where to put the materials.
  • Commend preschoolers for working together to put away materials.
  • During group time mention ways boys and girls helped and worked together during cleanup time.

Bonus Idea:

Photograph areas of the room to show the room setup. Place the photos in a  folder for the custodial staff. This will be helpful to set up the room after cleaning or after others use the room.

Printable Version


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