Discovery Centers

Saturday, 19 September 2015

     A good portion of my classroom space is devoted to centers.  Some are actual areas while others are "nooks" such as  countertops, shelves, or corners (in my dream classroom they would all be studios!).  Here are some pictures of each center:

 Art Center











     While I've been using centers since I began teaching kindergarten, the way in which I'm using them now is different.  In previous years, the children rotated through the centers in pairs, visiting one each day.  This year, the children are given the opportunity to choose where they work.  I  allow them to move freely between centers and do not limit the number of children that work at each center.  This was a BIG leap for me, but what I realized is that by controlling where they work, who they work with, and how long they work, I was robbing them of opportunities to make decisions, explore interests, and most importantly, to learn how to self-regulate.  Also, I was eliminating chances to gather information about children's behavior, friendships, and interests.  
     I also made changes in the way I began centers. I used to spend many days introducing them, while the children became impatient.  My thinking was that I was being proactive.  If I covered all the bases and told them exactly what they could and could not do in each center, then problems would be eliminated.  This year, I let them visit the centers on the first day with very little introduction.  If and when problems arose,  they were brought back to the class for discussion and problem solving.  This has worked well so far and I love that I am able to give my children a voice and model ways to solve problems.
     How are you using centers in your classroom?

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