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School Year Wrap-Up

Are you nearing the school year wrap-up? Congratulations to you for a successful year! Perhaps you’re feeling a little drained after a long school year? You’re most likely daydreaming about your upcoming summer fun, and time to relax with family and friends. The last thing on your mind is cleaning and storing your classroom materials and thinking about next year. But that’s exactly what you should be thinking about. 

If you make a plan, it won’t seem so overwhelming. Here are a few key things to consider when cleaning at the end of the school year – before you make your summer getaway.

A complete Primary Montessori classroom (2½ to 6 years old), with all the required Montessori materials should take 2 adults approximately 3 days to clean. This would include all of the materials (wooden, laminated cards, containers, etc.), tables, chairs, shelves, cubbies, snack area, etc.

What do you need to complete this process of cleaning and storing?

  • wash basins (easier to clean the materials at each shelf, rather than transporting all materials to the sink)
  • cloths (to wash and to dry)
  • scrub brushes
  • liquid cleaning solution
  • hot water
  • rubber dish-washing gloves (for sensitive hands)

It’s important to disinfect everything in your classroom. Even though you’ve been wiping your shelves and dusting throughout the school year, there is an accumulation of grime and germs on every card, container, and piece of material. Washing everything is the last thing you feel like doing, but it must be done at the end of every school year. And bear in mind, it will make it that much easier to start your next school year after your summer fun is over.

Obviously, you won’t be able to clean cards and labels that are not laminated, but the containers that hold them need to thoroughly cleaned. So how do you clean the multitude of laminated cards in your classroom?

  1. Prepare a liquid disinfectant solution of your choice.
  2. Lay a large, clean, dry cloth on a table.
  3. Using a cleaning cloth, wet it with your cleaning solution and wring it out very well.
  4. Wipe the front of a card clean with the wet cleaning cloth.
  5. Flip the card over and lay it on the dry cloth.
  6. Wipe the backside of the card.
  7. Continue for all cards.
  8. Clean the container.
  9. Allow sufficient time for the cards to dry or wipe with the dry cloth.

As you clean the materials, you should be checking to make sure you have all the pieces for each lesson. Be sure to count your color bead bars, golden beads, square chain labels and cube chain labels, skittles, etc., for math. Do you have your smallest pink cube for the Pink Tower (and a spare, because we all know that smallest pink cube is so darn cute and sometimes mysteriously disappears, only to reappear a few days later)? Are you missing language cards, picture cards, farm animals, fabric swatches, or stamps for the Stamp Game? How about Stamp Game Paper (free download)? Do you have all your Nomenclature and black-line masters? It’s so important to leave every lesson clean and complete.

As you work your way through the cleaning process, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the success of the materials and lessons that you have in your classroom. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do the materials meet the needs of the children?
  • Are there areas that are lacking materials (language, culture, and geography are usual)?
  • Do you have returning students that are prepared for more in-depth materials that you don’t have?
  • Are there new concepts you would like to introduce to the children next year?
  • Do you have all your required Administrative Records and Forms?

So you have lots of things to think about during your days of cleaning. The process is so much more enjoyable with another adult helping out. Volunteer parents are helpful for cleaning practical life dishes, shelves, tables, chairs, etc. But it’s always best to have a trained Teacher/Directress and/or an Assistant clean the materials, as they are familiar with the full contents of each lesson. Add in some music, conversation, and laughs about moments during the school year, and the time will pass quickly.