On the second day of school, one of my Pre-K students asked me, “Mrs. Stewart, can I play over there?” He was pointing to the science center where there were cups, pipettes, measuring spoons, trays, vinegar and baking soda strategically set out on a shelf.
The day before, I had guided the children through the process of exploring vinegar and baking soda but instead of putting it all away at the end of the day, I set out all the tools on the science center to let the children continue to explore the process all by themselves. I watched the little boy go back and forth setting up his own science project at the table. When he had it all set out, another child came up and wanted to play too. So together they set up two spaces for exploring vinegar and baking soda. I just have to say that it was a beautiful sight to see.
Well designed centers lead children towards new development, higher levels of thinking, and meaningful learning.
Ever since I started teaching way back in the early 1990’s, setting up classroom centers has always been one of my favorite parts of teaching in the early childhood classroom. Even after I left teaching for a season of time, I still went into local preschools and trained teachers on how to set up their classroom centers.
If you want children to learn through their play, then begin by being intentional in how you set up your centers for play and exploration.
Every decision I have made in my own classroom or have guided other teachers to do in their classrooms, when it comes to setting up centers, has been grounded in the idea that what goes in each center must intentional. This teacher from the Hive gives insight as to how and why she is intentional in the set up of her classroom centers. Take a listen…
Hear what Valerie shared about classroom centers…
Valerie ; Early Childhood Teacher and Member of the Honey Bee Hive