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Organising your resources for storage

As educators, we want to provide a calm and stress free environment for the children; a place for them to engage in play and learning activities. This goal can be achieved by limiting the activity offerings that you have on the shelf, or in displays within your environment.

When too many activities are readily available, this can cause overwhelm for the child. They'll flit from one activity to another, often leaving a wake of destruction behind them. By limiting the activities on offer, at least in the first few weeks of the year, children are encouraged to repeatedly engage with the same activities. This repetition helps to develop their ability to concentrate and complete the learning cycle, which includes packing away the activity when play is complete.


So, if you are limiting the activities being provided, what's the best way to store the activities you aren't putting out on the shelves?


There are a several ways to store activities:

* by type

* by theme and topic

* by skill development


STORAGE UNITS, CONTAINERS OR BOXES


Depending on the size and quantity of items you have, you may need an archive storage box or something larger. Depending on your organising style, you may prefer a container that is clear or solid.


ORGANISING BY TYPE


Storage units with multiple drawers can be used to store items of similar type, such as construction, science, cooking, craft, puzzles, imaginary play etc.


This photo shows my storage trolley filled with items that children use for construction. There are connector blocks, magnetic blocks and tiles, and more. (My storage trolley is currently in storage while my daycare undergoes repairs)







ORGANISE BY THEME AND TOPIC


Sort your resources into groups of themes and topics. The types of themes you have will depend on the type of activities and resources you have. You may, for example, find you have lots of cars and trucks. This could be a transport theme.


Put all your themed resources together in a box. In addition to toys, your box may also contain story books, pre-printed activity worksheets, or lesson plans and memorabilia from previous years.

Prepare a list of the boxes contents, label the box and store it away.

This photo shows my contents from two of my storage boxes. (Left) has some items for Sustainability and Recycling, and (Right) has items for an Around the World theme. The smaller box (top right) is a smaller themed box for Australia. I have a small themed box for each continent.


ORGANISE BY SKILL DEVELOPMENT


Listed on the product packaging of new toys you'll find information about the benefits for using the activity, such as cognitive development, sensory, tactile, etc. Use this information to help you create your skill development categories.


Put all your resources together in a box, grouping together by skill development.


Prepare a list of the boxes contents.


Label the box and store it away.




PREPARING A BOX CONTENTS LIST / REGISTRY


To take your organising one step further, consider making a registry list of the items you have in each box. You may wish to keep a copy of the list in your box, and a copy kept on electronic file.


The list can include as much or as little information as you'd like:

  • type/theme/topic name

  • product name

  • product description

  • a picture of the item (take a photo or source an image online)

  • age range

  • skill development

  • learning outcomes

  • product warnings/alerts (ie batteries, small parts)

  • quantity

  • quality (what condition are they in - new / second hand / needs repair)

  • name of store you purchased from (include a web link for online stores)

  • storage location (eg is the item kept in storage, being used in your daycare, being repaired, etc).


Examples of my inventory registers. The (Left) is the style I use for most of the activities I have that aren't specifically theme related. The (Below) style is something I was preparing for the individual theme boxes. I had added the Product warnings/alert section and Risk management.

You don't need to go into as much detail as I have for your list. Start with a simple photo-name-description list, and add to that if you find you need more information.



When you change up your environment (changing the theme or activities on shelf), update the registry with the location of your resources. Items that need to be repaired or replaced should also be noted on the list and within your CIP (Continuous improvement plan).


Whenever you buy a new resource, remember to add them to your registry. Note the purchase date and store (if you wish) and ensure your receipt is filed or documented for tax time.


 

If you need hands-on assistance with getting your space organised, or some advice on products that can help you in the organising process, contact The Organised Educator for your free initial consultation.


www.TheOrganisedEducator.com.au | @TheOrganisedEducator | Mobile 0407 221 012



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