Workbasket Wednesday: Setting up Work Systems in Preschool
Can you really do workbaskets in preschool?! Yes, you CAN setup workbaskets/work jobs in a preschool special education classroom and you SHOULD! This was the best thing that I have ever done for my students to help prepare them for kindergarten and give them more independence. You can find more about work jobs in this post where I go more into detail about what they are and why I love them. 

  Today I am going to be sharing how my work system is structured in my preschool special education classroom and how I set it up.
How to set up work jobs

All of the work jobs that are available to students are stored in clear plastic shoe boxes. (I got mine from Target during back to school and they came in a pack of 4 or 5).  My one tip to take make sure the top stays on (the Dollar Store brand doesn't latch very well) as this will help with lost pieces, dropped work jobs, physical and emotional messes

Each basket has two (letters, numbers, or animal) tags.  One is taped to the box and the other is velcroed onto their schedules or stays on the box if no one is using it that day.  (keep on reading to find more about my schedules)!
How I set up workbaskets in my classroom
I turned one of my toy storage areas into our work job location.  This is where all of our work jobs that we are using are stored. I was worried that my students would want to get into them throughout the day but that was not a problem, just make sure you do lots of teaching and it won't be a problem for you either!  I generally have around 45 work boxes available to the students at any given time. The storage is in an L shape so there are more work jobs you can't see in this picture.  I needed to make sure that I have  enough work jobs for each student to do 3 or more at the same time.

While preparing for my first year of work jobs I ran across an idea from Erin, over at Creating and Teaching, on how she displays her work jobs and I decided to do something similar. 
I have four small white boards (Target dollar section!) displayed on a bulletin board. I only have four boards as my preschoolers only attend four days a week.  Each student has their own row where I will write the work job symbol that they will be doing each day. Having it displayed this way was not only great for my paraprofessionals when they prep for the day, but also for me to make sure no one was doing the same job more than once that week!  (I document all weeks and work jobs for my lesson plans, you can read more about that here) I wish I would have taken a picture of these all nicely displayed in my room, but I didn't. :(

Each child has their own individual schedule. At the top is a picture of them and below are their velcroed work jobs and at the bottom is the reward they get to do when they are done. 

I was shocked at how quickly all of my students picked up on work jobs and really thrived during this time.  My students were able to take the picture off of their schedule, find the box/attach the picture, take it back to their seat, complete the task, and return it to the correct spot. If students do not have the ability to match letters or numbers start with animals or colors to identify work jobs, as they need to be able to match to complete this process. Students than repeated this process till they got to their reward.

At the beginning of the year each student started with one picture and once they had mastered that process we would than move to 2 and so on, it was all dependent on the child's ability and pace.  We do the same for any new students entering the class.

I only had one student who was not able to go and get his work jobs as he became too distracted and would never get to his jobs! So instead we put his jobs at his table spot and placed an all done basket next to him.
My class was able to do work jobs all at the same time! My para and I would walk around and be available if necessary but we would be cleaning up, writing notes home, etc during this time. My students all sat in the same spot daily and had a picture frame placed where they would be sitting.  I didn't have a very big room so I used tape to divide tables and give all students a work area. This was great preparation as my students will be entering kindergarten, either next year or in another year, and they will need to be able to sit at a table with other students and focus on their work, and not be distracted by others.

My paraprofessional would set up the picture frames and schedules while we were at circle reading a story. 

These are the picture frames I used! I would put the morning students on one side and afternoon students on the other :) These picture frames are from IKEA, but if you don't have one around you I found some on Amazon.

Work baskets are all about independence, so to foster this I take pictures of certain work jobs and hot glue them onto the lid (if you laminate and then hot glue it will come off very easy!). I do this to jobs where students may not know what to do. 

Work jobs turned out to be my students favorite time of the day! I am totally serious on this one! :) 

This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. This commission helps me support my family by allowing me to be part time to take my daughter to therapy on the other days. I would not support ANYTHING that I do not believe in!  

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