Learning centers can be a great way for early childhood educators to help organize their childcare spaces and help expose children to a variety of learning experiences. Learning centers can help children ease transitions between activities and can allow children to decide which activities they want to participate in, giving them more control over their learning environment and process. Below are some tips to consider if you would like to set up learning centers in a childcare setting.
Keep it simple
Start by choosing a location for each center. Look at all the space that the children use. Note the overall size, location of doors and windows, sinks or water sources, electrical outlets, necessary traffic patterns and any permanent fixtures or fittings. Note all aspects to consider when planning, such as shared spaces (as in family childcare homes), ages and numbers of children, and any special needs requirements.
Select which Learning Centers will be included
Start with areas that children are most familiar with, such as:
- Creative art
- Dramatic play/cleanup
- Constructive game/blocks
- Language arts
Think of a plan for each center
For each selected center, specify:
- How much space is needed?
- How many children can the area and activity accommodate at once?
- What suitable materials are currently available?
- What needs to be added to the facilities and equipment of the premises?
Make it manageable
Arrange only the number of centers that fit comfortably in the available space. Decide which one will be the first to be set up and introduced to the children. Remember that children will need guidance and time to get used to the changes.
Set rules for centers as needed
Establish how many children each area can accommodate at one time, how the number of children in each area will be controlled, how or if time limits will be set, and how areas will be cleaned. Some programs use a magnetic board or spring-loaded clothespins so that when a child enters, they move the magnet or clothespin into an occupied slot, and when they leave, they move the magnet or clothespin into an empty slot.
The number is determined by writing on the board and the number of magnets or clothespins available.
There are many learning centers in which have their own rules and regulations. Shafi Education is the learning center that apply
effective methods for learning especially french learning.
Plan how to introduce learning centers to children
Explain what materials and activities will be available, how children can choose and what rules (simple and understandable) will apply. The rules may be simple, but it will take at least two weeks before using learning centers becomes a routine. Patience in the beginning will pay off later.
Observe and evaluate
Set up notebooks or other ways to keep a written record of how children respond to the environment. Use this to evaluate your current setup, the need for new materials, or ideas for future changes.
Have fun! Setting up learning centers doesn’t have to be stressful. Start by keeping it simple – and enjoy this new experience with children in your childcare environment.