Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Power To Explore

      The learning center strategy uses ten basic learning centers to address the countless objectives of American early childhood classrooms, attempting to develop the student’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and aesthetic abilities.
      Encourage independent use of learning centers with these quick and easy tips:
  1. One Define the space. Use throw rugs, bookcases, and curtains to help children contain their play within the center.
  2. Two Take a room tour. Start the year by taking a few children at a time on a quick tour of the centers. Show them where materials are and how to put them away.
  3. Three Keep materials accessible. Put current materials for each center in well-defined containers and marked shelves at children's eye level.
  4. FourStore a few teacher materials in each center. It takes too much time to have to search for your own materials. Place your materials on a high shelf in each area.
  5. Five Stock centers sparingly. It is easier for children to manage materials if there are just a few items there. As children learn how to easily use and put materials away, ask them to suggest what new items they would like to add to the centers.
  6. Six Set up portable centers. Use plastic tubs or bins to create portable centers children can take to a private area to work and play.
  7. Seven Make a cooperative center rules chart. At a group time, encourage children to suggest rules for working/playing in learning centers. If children are having difficulty, suggest issues such as sharing materials, respecting eachother's work, and putting materials away.
  8. Eight Display children's work. Use bulletin boards, shelf backs, cardboard boxes or room dividers as a place to show children what others have done in the center.
  9. Nine Set up a works-in-progress shelf. Sometimes children don't have enough time to complete a project in a center. Create a "safe place" where children can store ongoing projects.
  10. Ten Create a take-home box. Set out a box near the door for children to place their finished projects for take-home at the end of the day
      There are nine basic learning centers in an early childhood/elementary classroom, each structured to expand the students’ experiences in a variety of meaningful and effective ways. Each center is constructed to encompass numerous objectives, including state and federal standards, school standards, and community standards.
Many church nurseries and preschools acquire large collections of Legos for early learners; when partnered with a nice table and a few extra trays this will serve as a very nice building block center.
       The learning centers approach focuses on student autonomy by giving each student an opportunity to explore his learning environment hands-on in a developmentally appropriate classroom. Teachers act as facilitators, providing materials and guidance, as well as planning discussions, activities, demonstrations, and reviews around the learning centers. These should never be used entirely as the only form of teaching in a classroom setting. That being said, learning centers may be integrated into the daily curriculum of a typical preschool or kindergarten.
  1. The art center both personal and multi-cultural visual expression. This center also supports many opportunities for core subject integration such as: science, math, literacy, and history.
  2. The building block center is essential in a pre-kindergarten classroom. Students recreate structural environments and explore concepts taught through math, geometry, and sturctural engineering in this center.
  3. A discovery center is often used to introduce children to nature and/or science.
  4. Dramatic play centers promote social interaction, role exploration, and abstract thinking.
  5. Library centers or literacy centers focus the student's attention upon a particular theme for the week's studies through type and pictures.
  6. The muscle center engages students participate in activities that exercise their bodies and develop large and small motor skills.
  7. Music centers creates opportunities for children to cooperate in activities that stimulate creativity, listening, and language. Children learn the natural intonations and rhythms of language here.
  8. The table games center teaches children to explore an established set of rules.
  9. Writing centers integrate the development of fine motor skills with self expression, reading, spelling and art. 
  10. In the manipulative center children play either alone or with each other using small toys to explore identification skills, math, and also story making. This center has similar attributes found in building block centers and dramatic play centers, except that the scale of the toys and environments is much smaller. The child's perception is no longer in the form of role play as an equal to his piers. The child becomes the manipulator of a story or of elements that they can control apart from social engagement if they choose to do so.
      Below is a video depicting a wide variety of sensory table ideas. Sensory tables are often introduced into preschool and kindergarten centers by early childhood educators. Children learn to associate ideas with those memories developed through tactile learning as well as the visual. Smells are also integrated into sensory tables although the examples shown here focus primarily on the tactile.

Video by Children use their senses to understand the world around them. Engaging in valuable experiences is important for building their overall development. Who says sensory tables are only for preschools? Get your child his or her own sensory table so that you can encourage them to investigate, learn and discover! 

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