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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for 17 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Breaking Down Centers for Play and Learning

In this article we will reflect on popular interest areas and or centers in the early childhood classroom.  It is important to do this, because often times teachers are accused of only having children play.  We must ensure that parents understand that play is a child’s vehicle for learning.   I had documentation ready for each center that included: what the center was, why the center was important, what the children were learning and how it aligned with any state and national standards.  The most important thing in my opinion is that differentiation is occurring in interest areas and we are allowing children to learn through their own learning style.

Why Use Centers:

  1. Oral language development
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Trial and error
  4. Differentiation
  5. Thematic unit integration
  6. Cross-curricular integration/Integrated units
  7. Play and Learning (how children learn)
  8. Investigate, explore, examine, and make decisions
  9. Cooperation
  10. Problem-Solving
  11. Open-Ended activities
  12. Hands-on Learning
  13. Independent play
  14. Group Play

And these are only a few reasons to mention that allow children to grow and develop.

Centers allow teachers to:

  1. create areas that allow for differentiation where children can express themselves and relax.
  2.  observe and monitor children in a setting where they are able to choose what and how they are learning a certain skill.
  3. assess children in an environment where they can actually show teachers what they know.
  4. pull children out for small group work and one on one interaction and still have other children busy and engaged.
  5. Incorporate thematic units and project based learning more throughout the day.

Lets look deeper into popular interest stations.

Reading/Literacy  Center allows children to:

  1. Learn environmental print
  2. Play with words (read, sound out)
  3. Learn to hold books and turn the pages
  4. Retell
  5. Oral Language
  6. listening

Computer/Technology Center

  1. Trial and error
  2. Digital literacy
  3. How to appropriately handle and use technology
  4. Reaching out and learning about the world around them
  5. Reading/math/science and any other subject you want them to study
  6. Dual language with digital stories
  7. Virtual stories and field trips

Block Center

Housekeeping

Writing

Art

Listening Center

It is important to be able to point out what each center is doing to help children learn.  When you know exactly why children are learning in this type of center, it will also help you to organize, gather materials and align with any learning for the week.  You will also be able to show families and administrators why learning is so productive in your classroom and why centers are vital to a child’s learning.

~ Tisha