Centers

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by crosscountryski, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. crosscountryski

    crosscountryski Companion

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    Aug 14, 2011

    How to handle center time

    Hi

    We get kids next week and I am overwhelmed. Every year at this time, I never feel ready. I know it will pass when kids come. My centers are set up but I am not happy with it. I have limited storage space so everything gets shoved into cabinets thus can't find anything or they are on the floor. Students don't have access to things. I am hope this changes. My newsletter template and intro letter is done. I just need to set up a pre-assessment tool.

    Anyways, one thing that I need to tackle is how to do centers. I am allowing about 45 mins to 1 hour for centers. What is the best way to handle this time. Here is what I am thinking?

    Plan A: Let students choose centers and I will pull groups as needed to work on ABCs, writing, math. Para assigned to me can help between stations.

    Plan B: Set up a visual schedule for each student and tell them which station they will go too. May work well with the students with autism, not sure if it would be ok with the rest.

    What is the best way. I have a preschool special education room (3-5 yr olds). We have a couple typical peers.

    thanks
     
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  3. punchinello

    punchinello Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2011

    I like Plan A. Once they get the hang of centers, I tell them which ones are mandatory. They move their name once the activity/game has been completed/played. I then can see at a glance who has played the activity and who hasn't.
    Rotation schedules seem more appropriate for kids a little older. And it looks like a lot of work for me! Always the deciding factor... :)
     
  4. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Aug 14, 2011

    Do they need to visit specific centers? Can they just choose to work in areas they are interested in? My centers are 50 minutes and mostly play-based and the students can visit them freely (although they did have to "sign in" with nametags last year to limit the number - not sure if I'm doing that again or not.) A lot of learning can take place through developmentally appropriately-planned play, and you save yourself the hassle of devising a schedule for rotation.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Aug 14, 2011

    If you have to, you can make a stove, etc. from some big cardboard boxes. I have done so. When money is tight, we come up with the best ideas. Bring in some kitchen ware from your house or Goodwill. The kids will take care of the exploring.
     
  6. crosscountryski

    crosscountryski Companion

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    Aug 14, 2011

    Hi

    Thanks. I will use center time as mostly play based and work with students on skills during this time. I think that the only area that I would make it required which would be reading/writing and sometimes math. I want to make sure students are prepared going into kindergarten next year.

    Actually, my dramatic play area is fully loaded. That is one area that is great. Overall, we are just short on storage. We are very limited on what we can put out so the students can access it.

    thanks
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2011

    I have to say that all the prepackaged stuff is cute and cool. But the stuff my kids work the hardest with and play the longest with (therefore using the most verbal skills and what not) is the "made at school" props.

    Will it be the most quality stuff, no, but it will bring your group together. Whole project based topics are built this way.

    We have 90 min of free play in centers with people freely choosing math and science. I tend to hover there (I like those the best!) so they get very popular.....sneaky....shh. Then we have small group during other times of the day, frankly usually transition to outside. We are full day so that means we have a lot of time.

    Pulling the kids out rather than having a scripted time would allow you to choose the children who aren't engaged or to pull a small group that was bonding and playing well rather than a random group of people busting up all sorts of groups.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2011

    OH, I just read that you were short storage. I guess that is another post that was asking what to put in dramatic play? That said, bookshelves for prop items can be made out of cardboard too? While you scrounge. Maybe a parent knows how to build book cases?
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 15, 2011

    It's also OK to set up visual schedules for centers for the kids who need it while allowing the other kids to have more choice. Some of them need the added structure, and that's' OK. They might be able to transition out of it, or onto a "choice" schedule... and they might not.

    I have "stations" time that they rotate between centers (usually all teacher-directed exploration stuff) and a separate time that is totally child-choice.
     
  10. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2011

    I think so as well!

    I like the idea of having a different time for small group work and another time for true choice time. You can have small group work going on at choice time but it should be the child's choice to participate.
     
  11. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Yes, thanks pre-k....that was said much better. True choice time is just that. Choice time. Then in other times when small groups are doing things....I catch the groups I need. We don't all go out at one time. So one group is at a station, then I have a group, and a para takes the third group to begin outside transition.
     

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