1 Provide separate, marked cubbies or hooks near the classroom entrance so children can hang up jackets, raincoats, and snowsuits upon arrival. Show children how to put mittens and hats in their coat sleeves so they won't lose them. Keep drippy wet boots down low, away from dry jackets.
2 Share backpack strategies. Show children how to neatly fold clothes and roll artwork so they won't become squashed in backpacks when taken home. Teach them to put heavier items on the bottom of the backpack.
3 Keep outfits clean by having children wear smocks over their clothing during messy activities. Adults' old short-sleeved shirts work well. Vinyl smocks are best for water play or wet art activities.
4 Sharing is not always caring! Teach children not to share brushes, combs, or headwear because of the possibility of becoming infested with head lice. Discourage the sharing of personal items that might go in the mouth (bottles, food on spoons, toys).
5 Organize extras. Ask parents to write names on diapering materials (wipes, lotions) brought from home. Provide individual labeled bins to keep potty-related items (extra training pants, change of clothes, wipes) organized and handy in case of accidents.
6 Provide space for nap-time items. If children bring blankets, mats, or stuffed animals from home, offer a clean, easily accessible place to store these large comfort items between rest times. Arrange a laundering schedule with parents and send items home in easy-to-carry laundry bags.
7 Establish a toy policy. It is often difficult for young children to share their favorite toys with others. If your center policy allows children to bring toys from home, designate a safe keeping place (special basket, cubby) where items won't be broken or taken.
8 Store food safely. Foods brought from home due to allergies or religious practices should be labeled and kept on a special shelf. Provide a refrigerator to properly chill opened baby-food jars, prefilled baby bottles, and lunches.
9 Prepare for warm weather. File parents' permission slips for using sunscreen and keep individual labeled bottles of sunscreen in a secure place. Children should have wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts readily available to prevent sunburn.
10 Be safe, not sorry. To avoid accidents, take care to keep children's belongings, such as toys brought from home, off the floor. Also, make sure shoelaces are tied. Roll up children's long sleeves while they play on climbing equipment.