Why Learning Centers?
Children learn from play. Play to a child is as work is to an adult.
The descriptions of our learning centers only touch on the things that children are learning through play! Teachers are responsible for keeping the centers interesting, challenging, exciting and age appropriate and will plan activities for learning centers each day. By allowing the child to choose their area of “study” they are empowered by and invested in their learning. That is when teaching and learning is the most effective. Children learn best by being actively involved and hands on.
“What are children learning from play”
Blocks and building…
Is an open ended activity that provides a variety of learning opportunities. Building with blocks helps develop the following skills:
Fine/Gross motor – muscular control and coordination, eye-and coordination, and visual perception
Social/Emotional – make choices, express feelings, co-operate with group, respect materials
Cognitive – problem solving, math, engineering, scientific and physical concepts, (such as gravity, inclines, bridging, physical properties)
Is an open ended and process oriented activity that provides many learning experiences for children. Art exploration helps develop the following skills:
Creativity – a sense of aesthetics; expression of feelings, thoughts and opportunities to explore a variety of media and materials
Social/Emotional – gives a sense of accomplishment, builds self confidence, positive self esteem and sense of ownership
Cognitive – learns about physical properties, eye-hand coordination and fine motor development, awareness of colors and shapes, cause and effect.
Is a chance for the teacher and children to share stories, thoughts, experiences, and togetherness as a class. The teacher usually reads stories, sings songs, and does finger plays, or gives the children a choice to share something about themselves or their home. Participating in circle time helps develop the following skills:
Cognitive – taking turns, sharing, listening, learning new stories, songs, finger plays, expressing self, and helping to develop attention span
Social – sharing with friends, communicating with peers in a more structured experience, and learning how to participate in a group.
Emotional – speaking in front of friends and adults, gaining confidence in themselves and promoting positive self-esteem.
Provide children the opportunity to make foods that they like and to be involved with new ingredients and foods. Cooking experiences help develop the following skills:
Fine/Gross motor – Eye- hand coordination develops through wrapping, pouring, mixing, slicing, peeling, juicing, scrubbing, dipping, cracking and rolling.
Emotional – Gives a sense of accomplishment and pride in their product.
Cognitive – seeing how foods are prepared and how they mix, blend, pour, spread and slice. Experiencing new and healthy foods to add to their diets.
Science- Seeing the changes in food properties as they are mixed together then heated or baked and become a final product made up of many individual items.
Gives children the opportunity to be someone or something else. Exploring and playing in the drama center helps develop the following skills:
Cognitive – Choosing symbols to represent objects, language in role-play dialogue, self-exploration, negotiating roles with others.
Social/Emotional – Resolve or re-enact frightening experiences, play out adult roles, pretend to be their hero, freedom to create their own world, an emotionally safe place to invite friends to play.
Fine/Gross – Dressing and undressing, manipulating props, playing out imagined roles
Creativity – creating scenarios, develop/decorate house.
Language-communicating with peers in an effort to be understood and fit within roles set by the group.
Throughout the program, vocabulary, comprehension, speaking, and writing skills are being developed. Language center provides children the ability to explore at their own pace. The language center helps develop the following skills:
Cognitive – Organization of thoughts, seeing thoughts put into words, beginning writing, taking ownership of their work, Learning letters and numbers
Social/Emotional – dictating stories, expressing self through their creations or speaking
Fine/Gross Motor – cutting with scissors, writing, drawing, hole punching, stamping, and manipulating paper
Creativity – creating stories, creating own stories and pictures
Is a way for children to experience self-expression, explore movement and develop listening skills. The music center helps develop the following skills:
Cognitive - listening to similarities and differences and sounds, ordination of rhythm and beats, following directions, learning appreciation of music
Social/Emotional – playing together, expressing self in dance and with instruments, releasing feelings through playing instruments, dancing and moving
Fine/Gross Motor – coordination of playing instruments or moving to the directions or beat of the music, balance
Creativity – self expression, trying new ways to use or create sounds, development of language and communication
Gives children the freedom to do many of the same indoor activities in a more natural setting Plus the environment that encourages and challenges Gross motor skills. Outdoor play helps develop the following skills:
Gross Motor – balance, muscle development, rhythm and coordination
Social/Emotional – problem solving with peers, small and large group activities, cooperation, taking turns
Cognitive – natural exploration (i.e. sand, insects, textures), problem solving with materials, negotiating with peers
Provides learning in a very enjoyable manner and encourages development of language and communication. The reading center helps develop the following skills:
Emotional – Reading about others with similar circumstances (i.e. new baby, moving, new school) gives child comfort, relating intimately with teacher, parent or friend.
Cognitive – Listening, learning new words, ideas, facts, and experiences. Clarification of concepts, which leads to writing own stories, idea sequencing, and relating to adults
Is a great way to explore and learn about many materials in the environment. The science center helps develop the following skills:
Cognitive – cause and effect, change of properties, sequencing
Social/Emotional – sense of accomplishment, pride, working with others, and excitement to learn and understand how nature works
Fine/Gross Motor – mixing, pouring and manipulating products