I’m not a naturally organized person, but since I’ve begun working with kids I’ve changed my nature. Much of what I’ve learned about educating children has taught me that organization is key. That’s why everything I do with kids is highly organized. I organize my plans, procedures and the space I’m working in. I do this to keep children focused and on task.

Years of working as an educator have shown me that organization is an important key for learning. When I first started teaching, my classroom was very much disorganized. My students walked in the door of my classroom without a good place to put their jackets, lunches, books and other personal belongings. I didn’t have a good place for children to place their papers. I had no bathroom or homework procedures in place. Classroom materials were mixed together and without a permanent home. As you can imagine, my students were disorganized too. Everything around me was a mess.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed plans, procedures and a place for everything. That’s when I started making lists, labels, signs, posters and a receptacle for just about everything. Each day I got a little more organized. Each day my students became a little more focused and ready to learn. As the environment changed my students changed too. I was quickly learning that organization is a master key for providing children with a good education.

Of all the changes I made for my students, the one that brought about the biggest change in my students was the reorganization of my classroom space. After considering all the things that needed attention within my classroom, I realized that my students required a clean and well organized space to learn. I grabbed a pile of index cards, some permanent markers and poster board to begin making signs, labels and posters for everything that needed its own special place.

Next, I went shopping for some organizational tools. I purchased storage organizers, bins, hooks and cubbies for every classroom need. I quickly discovered the wide variety of school furniture, cubbies and classroom furniture made readily available for teachers like me. Everything was going to have a new and permanent place in our classroom.

I knew that it wasn’t going to be enough to just provide a place for everything. It was clear that I needed to assign a purpose to every nook and cranny of my classroom. Therefore, lunches had a place of their own in a cubby clearly marked “Lunches!” I now had individual hooks for each child’s jacket and book bag. The container holding blocks had a picture of blocks on it. Now the children knew where I expected the blocks to go! Art supplies were neatly organized on shelves with a little bit of help. I acquired scissor holders, paper trays, paint brush holders and much more. Art time was no longer a disaster! Reorganizing our learning space was easy, fun and highly effective.

The best part of my reorganization investment was new found peace. Children now walked in the door knowing what was expected of them. Even the most energetic students eagerly put their things away each morning and sat down to learn. Classroom behavior was totally transformed. My behavior was transformed too. Everyone was more focused, peaceful and ready to learn.

If you’re a home schooling mom, a classroom teacher, a Sunday school leader or a leader of any kind, you can reap the benefits of an organizational overhaul. Don’t shy a way from investing in an organized place to educate. An excellent education begins with organization!

Alisa E. Clark, an educator for over 10 years with a Master’s Degree in Reading Education, reviews and consults with companies and schools districts about the latest tools and programs to enhance student learning. Her web site is at www.kidcubby.com.

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