Saturday, November 19, 2016

Play Based Learning with Centers

Center time is every preschoolers favorite time of the day.  I am going to share with you a peek into my classroom center time.  We try to incorporate a lot of open ended centers for my pre-kinders to engage in along with a sprinkling of games. Students learn to take turns, share, build vocabulary as well as practice skills taught during small groups in an open ended way!

The alphabet center consists of all things language.  We play games like Roll and Cover, write on the magic boards and use LOTS of alphabet manipulatives!  Some days there is an adult stationed there to help facilitate a game and other days the children work and play independently with alphabet materials and writing instruments.  

Roll and Cover

Magic Boards and Picture Name Tags


Alphabet Matches

In the Sensory Tub, there are a variety of materials throughout the year.  Our rule of thumb is to change it out every two weeks and it can revolve around our theme at times.  There is often fine motor and science activities incorporated into this center.  

Pom Poms and Tweezers

Water Table  

Water Marbles from Lakeshore

The Art Center has a balanced approach of process and product driven activities.  We try to offer both types of projects and some projects have a combination of the two.  Watercolor paints, mosaic art, and collage projects are a few of our process driven activities.  The children are able to be creative as they like.  Some projects are product driven like the patterning plates that will be the frame for our Turkey Handprints.  Some students thrive with explicit directions and others with the freedom to create.  

Feather Painting

Felt Pattern Frame

The Math Center offers a variety of maniplatives that are often open ended and games that might need some teacher direction.  Some days students ask us to leave the materials out from our Small Groups (read more HERE) to explore further.  I do have a plan for what materials will be set out each day, but the students often take the lead and embrace our choice or change it quickly.

Snap Cubes

Linking People

Turkey Clothes Pins

The Block Area is limited to four students as it makes sense for the amount of blocks available.  There are several types of blocks such as Legos, colored blocks and Bristle Blocks in addition to the large wooden blocks so more than one type of block is allowed out if there is enough space on the large carpet.  Manipulatives such as cars and animals are often added after building structures and roads.

Making connections from our math lesson

Princesses and Super Heros added during October

Colored blocks and animals

Dramatic Play is a favorite with my boys and girls.  We change it out every two weeks onto something other than home living area and then return to the home living center for two weeks.  The key of any area is to label it and model activities as you visit this area during transitions to new areas. Many of my ELL (English Language Learners) students look for this direction as they build their vocabulary as well as all students as some of the areas are new experiences for all of them.

Home Living Center

The Vet  

The Pumpkin Patch

I will be doing a follow up post on the ins and outs of center time 
and I would love to hear your thoughts.
Please comment below with any questions you have about center time!

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1 comment:

  1. So glad I found you! Awesome ideas I will definitely use!