Centers

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Evabop, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Apr 17, 2012

    How does everyone feel about centers for one year olds?
     
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  3. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Apr 18, 2012

    I think it's fine as long as the centers, and the items in them, are appropriate for one year olds.
     
  4. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Apr 20, 2012

    Please advise.

    I am having trouble grasping how centers could work in a one year old classroom. My superiors demand it and I don't understand it!

    I understand how centers work for two years and up, but I have never experienced centers for a one year old classroom.

    Help please.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 20, 2012

    Evabop. To create centers for one's, visulize what one's do.

    1. Crawl, and some are learning to walk. Create areas to pull up and hang on to while learning to walk.
    2. They love to look and explore. Create an area of interesting items. I would create a science area. Put leaves, rocks, bugs, etc. in bottles, boxes, etc. They can look but not eat.
    3. They love sound. Create a sound, music area. Rattles, and other noise makers. Musical wind up toys.
    4. They love movement. Hand some windsox, ribbons, etc. on the ceiling.
    5. Misc. Soft blocks to pick up, stack, and cuddle.
    a climbing area. If you don't have a climber for this age, put down some pillows.

    Is this enough to get you started? I know we have lots of ideas we can share, just ask.
     
  6. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    Apr 20, 2012

    As an early childhood teacher and the mother of a toddler, I was trying to wrap my head around centers for a one year old. Then I read Blue's post! She has some great ideas!
    As a crawler/cruiser, my son loved his leapfrog activity table. I bet you could create something similar and possibly larger that multiple children could play at.
    Last summer (as a newly 1 year old) my son LOVED his water table. But it wasn't a big deal if he made a huge mess because I usually stripped him to his diaper before and it was outside. If you wanted to use water, you could invest in some full coverage smocks. Otherwise, there are TONS of ideas out there for things to use in sensory tables.
    You could have other centers similar to preschool. Blocks or the giant legos? You could even have them sort/put away by size, shape, color. This might be too much, but it would encourage them to match and would remind the adults to use the sorting words as they were at the center. ("Lets put the red ones away, etc.)
    How about a kitchen? My son and niece love theirs. It isn't used as a "kitchen," but it is fun and a good intro to kitchens/dramatic play later.
    How about a board book center? Always popular around here!
    Cars/trucks?
    Dolls?
    Crayons?
    Chunky puzzles?
    Balls and tubs to throw them into or an area to roll them?
    These are just the things my son is into right now and that I am thinking of off the top of my head late tonight.
    I think one of your biggest struggles might be finding things that won't get eaten if you have children that still put everything into their mouths. I know most of these things would be safe around my son, but he is almost 2 and is pretty much past mouthing things most of them time.
    Good luck!
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    K1, you did just what I suggest OP to do. Think about what the children are interested in, and create an interest center.
     
  8. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Blue and K1teach:
    The centers are already set up and sectioned off. My confusion is that I must keep all ten to twelve children in one center for fifteen to thirty minutes. Children are not allowed to choose a center, move to another center, or experience any true free play. My superiors tell me that free play is them playing in one center at a time. I spend more time keeping them confined to one center than I do interacting with them in the center. I feel like it is not fair for them and adds unneeded stress.

    Do you think a one year old class should have restrictions on play like this?
     
  9. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Wow, well....I would say that in the manner your superiors wish...centers may not be the best idea. I do believe in centers the way they have been discussed by others in the post...but making 12 of them play in a single adult directed center sounds like a bad day. I am sorry.....maybe you could discuss with them the issues as you see them? Or...as a worst case scenario find a place that understands the issue in a better way.
     
  10. dragonflym

    dragonflym Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    I'm not sure but I think you're totally out of ratio with 10- 12 1s with 1 teacher, isn't the ratio 1:4 most places? If not I really feel sorry for you in this situation not to mention the children because that just sounds horrid.
    ETA: Not to mention that you can't constrict or restrain a child to any one area that is totally in violation of most policies and licensing, unless in the case of an emergency, i.e on the grass during a fire drill or under the table during an earthquake. Again, though, you can't make or force them to stay there it's an understandable exception though to have them stay in one area at those times.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Infants less than one (1) year old or
    children under eighteen (18) months who
    are not walking 1:6
    One (1) year olds who are walking 1:8


    Georgia regulations are quoted above. It seems like you can have 6 nonwalkers or 8 walkers. That is a very large group size. Most states only allow 4, and some 3. But, regardless of that, you are over the limit if you have any more than 8 children. I have told other teachers, if the license agent comes and inspects, it will be you who gets into trouble. Somehow, you are going to have to let your director know about this regulation, and help her stick to it. (I also suggest you print out a copy of the regs for your own use. My staff were always responsible for knowing the regs and abiding by them.)

    Now, forcing all children to play in one center at one time is not developmentally appropriate. I can not see how it can work. I am an experienced teacher, and I would not be able to do it. I suggest you ask your director to come in and take over your class for 30 minutes while you observe. See what happens.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Your original question was how do we deal with centers? I allow children complete access to all centers all day. I know some teachers close some centers for specific reasons.
     
  13. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    In regards to regulations: There are two teachers in the classroom, but the other teacher has less than a year of experience teaching children, so she is little to no help to me. She just does whatever the superiors tell her to.
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Eva, that makes me feel better. What can we do to help you? Since there are 2 of you, can you divide the group into 2 groups and use 2 centers? At least that would give you a little better control. I would also visit some of the other classrooms to see how they are dealing with this issue.

    If I had to keep 6-8 young kids in a group, I would try the following:
    Have a new, exciting activity for them in each center. The teacher would present the activity. For instance: If I took them to the housekeeping area, I would put out some dishes, pots and pans. We would all pretend to cook food, and eat it.
     
  15. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    There are a few times a day when one of us needs to change everyone's diaper, and this is the time when one of us has to contain all of them in one center. These are one year old children, and my experience is with older children. However, I have spent some time in a classroom with this many before, and there were little to no problems, because the teacher was sensational. My current teacher has very little experience and is an ineffective teacher. I would really appreciate any advice on how to cope with this setting.
     
  16. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Evabop,
    I hope your ratio is 1 to 4! It is the saddest thing to force children to play in one area. Children just can't be children anymore. I had a class of 18 months to 24 months and we had to draw pictures of the items that are at the centers and label them with words. I spent so much time on doing these; just to see the kids throw them on the floor or carrying them around to other centers, or to the bathroom. We spent more time picking up crap than actually spending one on one time with the children to do fun things. There was mounds of paperwork to be filled out; when they pooped, when they peed, what they ate, etc. You had to do all of these and follow the schedules for activities that you were given only 15 or less minutes to do. THE CHILDREN ARE SO RUSHED, and there was not enough time for them to enjoy anything.
    My personal opinion is we need to let children be children, instead of trying to program them into what adults want them to be; so EARLY in their lives. What they need is a lot of music, age appropriate SAFE toys and games, artwork, AND MORE MUSIC, a low ratio of teachers to children and a lot of hugs and love. It can be done!
    You just have to be quick on your feet and in your mind, 'cause they are unpredictable!
    Rebel1
     
  17. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Well said, Rebel.

    Eva, Can you ask your director to clarify the center thing? I just can not visulize how she wants this done. Does she really expect this to work?
     
  18. dragonflym

    dragonflym Rookie

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    Apr 22, 2012

    Have you thought of telling your co-teacher what it is you want her to do? It reads as if you are having trouble with her and that is at the root of the problem. Perhaps if you find a way to communicate with her, instead of bashing her it might help. Also, by doing so it might help you change your perspective towards her and make it a better working environment for you.
     
  19. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Rebel: I agree with you 100% and I feel like we are putting to much stress on these poor little ones.

    Blue: I have brought my concerns to the director and all she tells me is that they should be playing in centers and cannot have access to all of their toys at one time.

    dragonflym: I only bash her because it is true. I have brought up many ideas to her but she refuses to implement them. She is the lead and I am the assistant (even though I have more experience, education, and skill). I had to get my superiors involved just to get her to stop yelling at the children. Without me there would not be any painting or other "messy" projects either. I also demanded smooth transitions and more consistency (had to get superiors involved for this too). She has excuses for everything. I like her as a person and we get a long great. I just hate her teaching skills. They are VERY lacking and I am a bit of a perfectionist. I gave her a CD with tons of circle songs so that we could actually have music during our circle time, but she won't use them. I have asked her to give me any prep work that she needs to get done so that we can have lessons ready. I'm dealing with her, but it is the whole centers thing that has me at my wits end.
     
  20. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Apr 22, 2012

    What if the directors "can not have access to all of their toys at one time" rule is really about trying to get Susie to stay in one spot for more than 20 seconds...rather than keeping Susie and all the others in the exact same spot. I am still not sure how Susie could be kept anywhere she didn't want to be...and am concerned about Susie biting when she is upset about all of the people being so close.....but......

    If the director just wishes that Susie would stay in a location rather then wander in an unengaged way...I could almost see that as a logical goal.

    How sure are you that you are totally understanding what the director wishes? I totally know you are a great teacher, and I am certain you will say...that you and the director have talked and what not....but secretly (no...openly) I HOPE that perhaps you are misunderstanding? Please? Please, say yes?
     
  21. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Wa, that was my first thought. I hope that is true as well.
     
  22. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Sadly, I am almost positive she has already tried.
     
  23. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    May 1, 2012

    Wow, I read the whole thread. That sounds like a terrible place to work. I'd honestly call it quits.

    If that is not an option, I would try to maybe break the children into two groups. Your co-teacher can bring one group of 4 to one center and you can bring the others to another center. If you absolutely have to have the whole group in one center for 15 minutes (I wouldn't even think about 30...Pre-k kids can hardly do that) I would try to do a short 5 minute introduction song or Circle Time to the activities in the center. Do lots of movement activities involving the items in the center for maybe another five minutes. For the last five minutes, perhaps introduce a fun, new item that you will add to the center.

    The way you are describing your director's wants seems totally unreasonable, especially for one year old's. That is not DA...what is the admin's logic? Would she be willing to come in and demonstrate what she means?
     

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