Childminders work from their homes – and homes, as we all know, vary greatly in size and available space. As we take on more children, we often find that our playrooms are so cluttered with toys and games, the children can hardly fit in!
If you notice the toddlers tripping over the babies, the pre-schoolers fighting for space with the babies and the after schoolers pulling too much from the shelves because they are overwhelmed with the choices available and the books getting trampled under-foot… then maybe it is time to make a few changes.
I have been reading up on de-cluttering as part of something I am currently writing for the childminder advertising website about the revised EYFS and the Prime Area of learning ‘Communication and Language’ and I have found it to be a very interesting subject.
During my research I have found that some childminders have found themselves marked down by Local Authorities which use FCCERS and ECCERS to grade their service because they are not offering sufficient choice or duplicates of resources etc.
However Ofsted are fine with a de cluttered environment according to letter written by Liz Elsom on the Elizabeth Jarman site about Communication Friendly Spaces (TM) - http://www.elizabethjarmantraining.co.uk.
I have found from reading Ofsted reports that inspectors like to see toys children can easily access in labelled boxes - they don't have a problem with resources being rotated if the children have free choice (photo albums or choice books) of what they want out.
However there are some parts of provision such as reading, mark making, music, dance, art etc that should always be freely available to ensure you are linking the activities you have available with all the EYFS areas of learning and development.
If you want to make changes to your provision with the aim of de-cluttering the environment, you could do it as part of an ongoing improvement project –
• Audit the resources currently available in your provision against the areas of learning of the EYFS to make sure you are keeping appropriate resources
• Read up on de-cluttering and how it helps you to work more efficiently
• Talk to other childminders on www.childmindingforum.co.uk and ask for their ideas and views - do a forum search as the subject has already been discussed a few times previously
• Show how you have involved parents and all the children in the review process
• Carry out observations of inside and outside play involving different groups and children and at different times of the day to see what is currently being used
• Make decisions about any changes you intend to do based on their comments and the spaces available etc.
You could then ask the children to help you document the changes you make adding comments from children, before and after photos etc and put it in a file for Ofsted / parents etc to show your commitment to continuous professional development.
I hope you enjoy your newly de-cluttered spaces :)