Center Managament

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by mego65, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. mego65

    mego65 Comrade

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    Oct 31, 2009

    Currently I do not have a formal center management system. I have taught the kids 4 per table, 3 in dramatic play and blocks, they sing 1, 2, 3, no room for me, and then 2 at easel and sensory table. It may sound complicated, but my kids got it really really fast. I still have a few special friends that need reminders but, that is limited to 2 kids, who need reminders on pretty much everything.

    However, I'm part of a grant that wants a management system in place. I told my adviser how I have it and she said it was ok as long as it was effective. Of course one of my special two friends needed a reminder while she was there. She said it was not working and I needed to come up with something more concrete.

    So, I need ideas. Most people at my school have a poster at each center. The kids have name cards with hook and loop that they move with them. However, my classroom is really open (that's the nice way of saying I was provided NO storage). So, I'm not sure where I would put the posters.

    I would love to hear what you do. How it works and how it does not. A little more detail about my class- 21 kids, 1 aide, 11 centers.
     
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  3. Whitchel

    Whitchel Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2009

    I have small 8x10 size laminated posters with the number of children allowed to play in each center, these have hooks on them where they hang up their name tag...when they want to move they clean up what they got out and get their name tag and go to another center. This year I have 17 kids and 12 centers...this has worked for me for years. Some years I have more kids.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 31, 2009

    One teacher I know puts a table sign on each table. It can be as simple as folded cardstock paper (half size). I have that. We both also have a dry erase check list (2 columns) for the students to check off. She has a big poster with each center and the kids have their own popcicle sticks. When she tells them to change centers, they are called table by table to line up and go change the popcicle sticks. THey have to look at their checklist to make sure they can go to it and they have a visual to know how many people per station.

    Honestly though, no matter what you do, there are children who are challenged at some of this stuff. Most of our students, after about a month of doing it, are able to use the check list. We have the same stations in the same spots so they know where they are and they learn which picture on the chart corresponds to which station without needing the signs. We don't have that many students so we can have them come up to our kidney shaped table (table by table) to change their charts. Most students catch on that they must check off all the centers in column A before moving on to column B (ie, getting to repeat the same centers). They can't go to the computer station twice, for example, without ever going to the writing center. The only exception to this is if they only have one choice left and it is full already. Even with our guidance, after a month we still have a student or two that can't grasp this concept and "want" to go to where they want to go. I will explain it to them again. If they still argue I tell them I can see they aren't ready yet to choose and call someone else. Sometimes I even make them go to the back of the line to think about it. This gets their attention that it isn't non-negotiable. Also some kids have a hard time breaking loose of their thoughts so when I am telling them something, they aren't really listening because they are too intent on what they are thinking. So doing the unexpected or giving them a broken record repetitive comment, helps them focus on what I am trying to tell them.

    I like the hook board thing Whitchel mentioned!
     
  5. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oct 31, 2009

    I use a magnet system now (there is a post about that...I'll find it) but I've also had good success with using a pocket chart that is originally designed to be a calendar. It has lots of small pockets. I made indext card-sized signs (about an inch shorter, though) for each center. I color copied them. Then, if I had 5 spaces for kids to go to art, I put 5 of the art pictures in the pockets, one per pocket. Or two for puzzles, etc. Then, the kids took index-card sized nametags and slipped them into the pocket that was holding the picture showing what center they had chosen, one name card per pocket. So, if there was a picture showing, that center had a spot. If all spots in one center were covered with people's names, then there were no spaces there for another child.

    I like this a lot because it's flexible. Add or subtract cards as needed. It's a 1-1 correspondence thing, too, and that's one of our goals.
    Kim
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 1, 2009

    I would take a look at the grant requirements before creating a new system. What does the grant say the definition of management is? I would be very specific about addressing the grant requirements. It is really sad to have to change something that is working just to satisfy a grant. I would attempt to justify what I was doing, as the purpose of grants is to enhance quality, not change what is working.
     
  7. Oboemom

    Oboemom Rookie

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    Nov 1, 2009

    How long do your children stay in their centers?

    I have 18 four year olds and try to keep 3 students per center. We usually start out with table activities (puzzles, counting games, folder games, coloring) and as the children arrive I move the children that were at the tables to the carpet for Lego, kitchen, library, dramatic play and computer. As the morning progresses, I pull students 2 at a time to do handwriting skills and letter/number recognition. My aide pulls 2 or 3 at a time for a craft project. The children end up staying in their original center for most of the morning. They don't seem to mind, but I think I need to mix it up a bit.

    I think I will rotate the carpet centers after snack time, so everyone gets a chance to be somewhere else and not play with
    their favorite toys (and friends) everyday.
     
  8. mego65

    mego65 Comrade

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    Nov 1, 2009

    Thanks for everyone who responded so quickly. The grant requires free choice centers for at least 45 minutes. My school is the only one who does full day preschool. So, I do about 1 hour free choice in the morning and 1 hour free choice in the afternoon. The grant just says that an effective management system is in place. My supervisor knows that I do not have the adequate space to handle what the rest of my school does. She has told me I can do many other things as well, but has not given me any suggestions. I am new to pre k, so not completely sure.

    I do like the pocket chart idea. But, am still open to more suggestions. Thanks
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 1, 2009

    ...but does the grant ask for the managment system to be one that controls the number of children in each center? That is my question, because I am not sure that center number management is a biggie.
     
  10. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Nov 2, 2009

    Iv'e done a pocket chart with spots for each cener that's open... at the BEGINNING of center time, they needed to choose which center to start in. After that, they could go anywhere with space... some kids would come back and change their namwes, some didn't. I never enforced that, because they got really good at figuring out on their own if there was space to play somewhere.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 2, 2009

    clarnet--good. That is exactly what I was trying to get someone else to support. I believe it is important for children to learn to make choices about how and where to play. They might decide that 6 in housekeeping if okay, especially if they all traditionally get along. But, they may also want to avoid the hitter, the biter or the whiner, so they avoid the center.
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Nov 3, 2009

    I had stars on the center names in the pocket chart, and tried to restrict at the BEGINNING of center time, mostly because I wanted kids to go to different areas of the room, rather than always going to the same area (I'm glad you like blocks, but let's start somewhere else first).They needed to stay in their chosen center until everyone was done choosing, then it was open to anyone who wanted to play wherever.

    I would often get kids asking me "can I play at ____." My first question was, "well, how many people are there?" because I wanted to reinforce functional counting. My second question was "well, can you play there?" Whichever way they answered, I would say "OK, then." They stopped asking me ;)
     

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