The Montessori directress at our school was a child psychologist. She believed that children are burned out by adult voices by the time they start preschool, she called it “mother deafness.” Instead of talking, we used different tunes on the piano to indicate clean up time, quiet time, and story time. When dismissing children from school we used little games to help keep the students’ interest. One day children wearing a certain color, such as blue, could get their coats on first. Each day we would use different groupings such as boys, girls, ages, shoes, dresses, sweaters, and so on.
For older children you can use fun games such as a count off and the odd or even children can be dismissed. This method encourages listening and grouping skills.
Kids Talk has some more ideas for getting a child’s attention.