Your preschoolers are inquisitive about the world, especially during this developmental phase in their life. Curiosity is running high as little hands like to explore, touch, and question everything! Learning centers are the perfect opportunity to harvest that energy into exploration and discovery.
Below you can find some suggestions on setting up some popular learning areas.
Let your students unleash their inner Picasso! This area is the perfect setting for students to explore colors, textures, and creativity.
Be sure to include a variety of materials beyond the basics such as playdough, collage materials, craft sticks, and magic nuudles.
Dramatic Play Center
Role-playing is always a favorite with preschoolers. Dramatic play materials should be organized and labeled, and include props and clothing for various cultures, careers, and social settings. Children are at a developmental phase where they need to imitate adult roles and have experiences that reflect real life. This is the perfect area for them to imitate what they see in the world around them.
This area also offers the perfect opportunity for students to explore their evolving social skills, as they interact and role play with other students.
It is important to give children exposure to literacy at a young age. By providing the introduction to multiple genres, students can begin to explore their preferences. They’ll never know what type of books they like unless they have a broad selection from which to choose.
Within the classroom, ensure that there are at least 20-30 age-appropriate books in good condition, from an assortment of literature categories (such as science, multi-cultural, fantasy, etc.).
Music and Movement Center
As educators, we know how our young students gravitate toward materials that provide musical enrichment and opportunity for self-expression. The music and movement center provides just that.
Math and Manipulatives Center
Exposure to math through problem-solving activities, such as number games and puzzles, is a great way to introduce the subject to preschoolers.
Bingo helps visually reinforce numbers, as students will need to associate the number being called out to the physical number on their card.
Nature and Science Center
Stimulate your preschoolers and inspire endless wonder as they explore hands-on science experiments. Becker’s Primary Science Lab Set provides pre-k friendly activities to get your students eager to participate!
Books and fun experimental tools will also keep the exploration momentum going as you rotate activities within the center and provide meaningful experiences with the wonders of nature.
Sand and Water Center
While sometimes referred to as the “sensory area”, the sand and water center is always a popular pick for students. This center has multiple benefits, as it gives students creative freedom to explore textures and motions, while also helping develop social skills further, as children typically tend to interact with other students during this activity.
Be sure to set up your center near a sink or washing area to try and keep messes to a minimum. Have fun with this space, and be sure to incorporate a variety of activities and different sensory tools, as it will get your students excited for science!
Current trends indicate young children are getting increasingly more tech-savvy, so they’ll likely feel right at home in this space.
An interactive tablet is the perfect budget-friendly option for this area if a desktop or laptop computer is not available. However, don’t be shy in asking parents or staff if they are willing to donate any used electronics.
When selecting digital content, limit material to those that are educational and enhance classroom themes. Digital tools should support active learning and not be used as an isolated activity. This center will help students experience how technology can be used in an educational manner, as they begin to become more comfortable in today’s technology-filled world.
A writing center provides opportunities to get preschoolers excited for writing. The more writing materials you can incorporate, the more inspired your students will be to experiment!
By setting different weekly writing activities, such as bookmaking or shopping list creation, you can keep the area fresh and exciting as students delve into the world of writing.
What activities and tools do you like to use in your preschool learning centers?