When you step into one of our PK or kindergarten classrooms, you’ll likely see small groups of students working intensely at different tables. Whether they’re arranging letters or pattern with blocks, students are clearly focused on their learning.
They are working at “learning centers”; and due to their wide variety of benefits, it’s one of the most popular learning strategies in preschool and kindergarten.
What are Learning Centers?
Learning Centers are several workshops in which students can focus on a specific activity (literacy-based, math-based, science-based etc.), and rotate. Learning centers are an integral part of the learning process. They give the students an opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning. They are an opportunity for students to practice skills both with others and independently. Centers also give teachers a chance to assist students on a more in-depth level using small group lessons.
Why are Learning Centers Important?
- Learning centers give students a sense of completion. They are presented with a task, they follow the steps to complete the task. They are able to take the activity from start to finish and complete it.
- Learning centers help develop confidence. The activities explored in the learning centers include a transdisciplinary approach.Students are able to complete the centers independently and you can watch their confidence soar!
- Learning centers teach children to be independent. Centers allow students an appropriate level of challenge so they can work independently to reach a solution.
- Children learn through play. The more an activity feels playful, make believe or game-like the more students will learn. When children feel like they are playing they’ll be more excited to do the activity and it will solidify the skills. They are more likely to remember skills when they are playing with and manipulating materials, than simply doing a paper/pencil task.
- In addition to promoting independence, learning centers give the teacher time to work with small groups and give extra attention to students in a smaller capacity. Learning centers offer so many ways to differentiate the instruction.
Centers at Tessa International School
There are two types of centers: Rotating Workshops and Center Time.
For rotating workshops, the teacher will generally create 3 to 4 groups (depending on the size of the class and the needs of the course) of 4-5 students.
At least one group will work with the lead teacher, one with the assistant teacher, and one in autonomy. Students will work for 15 / 20 minutes on an activity and then rotate.
Center times are activities located in specific areas around the classroom. Each specific area is also referred to as a center. Children work in small groups during center time, and they can also work independently.
At Tessa, each class has 5 centers: library, blocks, pretend, art, and discovery (math and science together).
Children choose which center they want to go to, with a limitation of 3 children per center.
These hands-on activities are a lot of fun, and a great tool to ensure students get to practice what they have been learning.