Getting Started in Kindergarten: Opening Choice Time Centers

Sunday, 14 August 2016

 It's usually about thirteen minutes into the first day of kindergarten when I here,

"When can we paint?"

"When can we use the trains?"

"When can we play?"

I'm showing them where their lunch box goes, but this is what they REALLY want to know!

The Gift of Centers

So, here's what I tell them:

Each center is like a big, beautiful present waiting to be opened. 

Is opening presents the first thing you do when you get to a birthday party? NO! You usually have to wait a little bit, right?  

Do you open all of your presents at once or one at a time?" ONE AT  A TIME!  

Well, it's the same with centers.  We have to wait a bit before we begin opening them and we will open them one at a time.

kindergarten science center ready for back to school


Opening Day

In addition to having a ready response to your kiddo's questions, you'll also need a solid plan for opening and introducing each center.

a plan for opening and introducing kindergarten choice time play centers


Here are some "opening day" tips and ideas that you might find helpful!
  • String crepe paper across the centers and cut the ribbon as you open each one.
  • Open 1-2 centers each day.  Use a similar routine for your "grand opening" to provide consistency and a predictable language around center use.   
  • Begin with centers in which you have the most materials since the whole class will be working at these 2 centers in the beginning. I start with construction and math because I have a lot of blocks and math manipulatives.  Since they all won't fit in the center space, temporarily extend it to floor or table areas in other parts of your room.      
  • Dismiss children to centers by asking, “Who would like to work in the _______ center today? Invite children to raise hands or stand up to show their interest.  If the whole class raises their hand for one center (oh no!), ask for volunteers to choose a different center.


Ready, Set, Go!

Once the centers are all opened, it's your "gift" to stand back and observe the children happily engaged in exploring, experimenting, discovering, and creating. 


kindergarten science center - exploring sunflowers

kindergarten math center exploring numbers 1-10

kindergarten block center

kindergarten art center drawing sunflowers


Are you looking to bring Discovery Centers to your classroom? 

This Start-up Guide gives you set up ideas and tips that will help you begin. 

set up ideas and tips for choice time discovery centers in kindergarten


Thanks for stopping by!



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