I am looking for some professional development for my teachers. Specifically about how to create learning centers that are well-developed and support self-directed and purposeful play activities.
In addition to the regular daily centers that are set up in the classroom I like to sometimes provide an alternative center(which I set up at the learning table or in place of the art table).These can include a "pretend" tea party where they can practice social communication skills,a vetenarian scenario with play medical equipment and stuffed animals,a baby washing station with plastic baby dolls,a shallow container of water and qtips, lotions and powder.Also small washcloth and towel, and I use trial size lotion and powder they can pretend to put on the baby.The possibilities are endless for an alternative play station and it helps make playtime exciting and gives them something new to look forward to and engage in.
Thank you that is so helpful! I found an online training for my teachers on Aspire " Learning Centers that Inspire" for 14$ for an hour of training. Pretty good.
Yes, I think having both sameness and some variety from time to time is important in centers at this age. It is important to have a "pretend place," but that center need not always be only a "house corner." Sometimes it could be a vet's office with stuffed animal patients, or a library where a "librarian" checks out books for dolls or animals. A house center can have a variety of empty pancake mix boxes, empty orange juice bottles from time to time. It could even be a grocery store. The block center can have the infusion of a few different add-ons-- small rug squares, some rubber animals to add to the rubber people. In a manipulatives center there needs to be certain materials that are consistent-- table blocks, fit-together toys, certain puzzles--but rotating in some others in and out from time to time keeps the center "fresh." For the art center, crayons, markers and plain paper should always be available but sometimes adding some circular paper plates or a box of some different kinds of collage materials is helpful. The idea is to keep the solid work going at each center, but also to bring in some children with a different idea and to attract others to choose that center who do not usually come to it. The rotation of materials need not be very frequent and does involve a bit of extra "classroom upkeep" work for teachers, but the benefits in the children's play are great to have.
Very well said!
I love the paper plate idea.ive used them for crafts but never thought of just having them in the art center for free art.Fabulous idea.Especially when you can get them so cheap at the dollar Store!you could also provide ribbon or rickrack to glue around the edge.
What a great idea for the art center - just plain, old paper plates! I think I might throw in some paper bags, too. Love it!
Thank you, everyone! It's fabulous to have such a supportive community. I definitely feel more confident in rolling out new centers. Your advice is invaluable.
I'm so glad you found a training in Aspire. If you need any other trainings, I am a NYS T-TAP Credentialed Trainer with an EdD in ECE and happy to design a training specifically for your program (delivery can be virtual or directly on-site, I'm a quick ride from Poughkeepsie). Feel free to reach out anytime - firstname.lastname@example.org