Learning centers and free choice

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by annetxa, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. annetxa

    annetxa Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I was wondering what people did when offering learning centers to 3 year olds. Do you give them 'free reign' or do you have some sort of organization to the process?

    One person suggested that I get clothespins of different colors and match them to the centers and when the child wants to change centers to ask the teacher to get a different color clothespin. What do people think of that idea? Or do you think it should be free choice?
     
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  3. Teacher87

    Teacher87 Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I had free choice in my 3 year old classroom. They could play at any of the centers, and I also had 'small group' activities during that time that myself or my assistant did with the kids... they were not forced to participate in anything, although we encouraged them always. In a special ed early childhood room that I observed in, they moved their name card from center to center as they changed centers. But these kids were older 4s and 5s, and there were only about 8 kids and 4 adults in the room.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I think it would be a very difficult concept for late 2s and early 3s to understand.
     
  5. K3 teacher

    K3 teacher Companion

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    My 3s move their name (with their picture) on the choice board. It takes a couple days of modeling and taking them to the board to show them how to move their names to the center they want, but by the end of a week they are really good at it.
     
  6. annetxa

    annetxa Rookie

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    I have 8 BOYS and it will be just me in the classroom...no assistant. In the morning, they will have 'free choice' of all the centers. I wanted more structure for the afternoon, but didn't know how to do it. I would like to do free choice, but didn't know how chaotic that would be.
     
  7. K3 teacher

    K3 teacher Companion

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    It would be hard without a second person, I think. It takes both of us to make sure everyone understands what they are supposed to do and to move their name when they want to change centers. In the afternoon you could set out certain things you want them to do at tables. They could still move freely but would have to work on the items that are out. You could take this time to work with a small group.
     
  8. annetxa

    annetxa Rookie

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    Thanks K3 Teacher! I think that is what I will try. I think with the ones that are just turning three that it would be hard to keep them organized with clothespins and name tags with just me. Do you think it is wise to start a small teacher directed activity on the first day or should I wait a few days?
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I usually use the same structure on the first day that I use all year. I go slower, and show them how to use each center, and my expectations.
     

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