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Creating Learning Centers in Early Childhood Classrooms

A learning center is usually defined as an area in a child care or school where children go to small groups to focus their attention on a specific kind of play activity. A good learning center should be a learning experience. The teacher should create each center with a certain goal in mind, and when that goal is met, those centers will be successful.

Learning centers should constantly be changing because they are incorporating lesson plans from the teacher. Having successful learning centers will require that teachers be creative.

A teacher should have a thorough knowledge of child development and learning in order to be able to understand the characteristics of children within the given age groups. Teachers must be able to determine what activities, materials, interactions, and experiences will be safe, healthy, appropriate (age, individual, and sociocultural) and challenging for the age group that they will be working with. For more on the subject, take the continuing education course: Early Childhood Growth and Development.

Why learning centers:

Learning centers help with better classroom management and better overall achievement. With learning centers students begin to see how they learn best and it promotes physical activity which helps with overall mood.

Children have various learning styles:

Our goal is to make the classroom environment reflect the different learning styles of the children/students in the group.

Before we get into what the learning centers should look like, let’s go over some basic housekeeping and groundwork to keep in mind in order to help make the center experience smooth and pleasant for everyone involved.

Clarify: Learning centers that are open for the day should be presented to the children during circle time or at the beginning of the day. It is a good idea to use pictures on a board to let children know what centers are available. Make sure to not only use words but use pictures that illustrate what the center is about. Non-reading children could become discouraged and distracted from the confusion of the words they can't interpret." That's why she suggests using drawings.

Responsibility: Using learning centers is a good way to teach children to take care of things and people. The teacher should instruct children to clean the area when they are done so that other children can enjoy the center also.

Peak their interest: Good learning centers never get boring. Introduce the center and explain something interesting about each center before children make their choices. Have enough areas for children to choose from, make changes and add new item but not too often. Limit the time for each center area so there's no time to get bored. Don’t make the time too short so that the children do not have enough time to complete their exploration.

Start setting up your learning centers today.

To take the 3 hour continuing education course, visit Networx LLC's website.

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