Meredith Bunyard is the director of P.LA.Y. Preschool, a Reggio-inspired ...
10 Preschool Center Ideas to Spice Up Your Classroom
Young children learn best when they interact with each other and the environment. That’s why it’s important to design your preschool learning centers in a way that facilitates hands-on learning. A good preschool learning experience doesn’t just involve building blocks and books. There are many factors that affect how your learning centers should be set up and utilized. To help you have a clearer idea of how those factors influence your decision-making process and make the job of setting up your learning centers easier, here is a list of preschool center ideas you can incorporate into your classroom.
Having a literacy center is a must in any preschool classroom. Young children need to develop their expression skills and explore their interests. Reading comprehension and writing are two basic skills that form the base for all further developments. By having a literacy center in your classroom, you are fostering the skills children need to succeed later in life.
An art center doesn’t just help children explore their artistic talent but also provides a medium for them to express their ideas and emotions. For children with difficulties expressing themselves, they can use art as a venue to discharge negative emotions and connect with others. An art center also helps improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills in young children.
In this day and age, it’s hard to survive without basic technology skills, and a lot of innovative preschool center ideas come in this form. Even the simplest office job requires fundamental computer skills. Help children develop their interest in technology by introducing them to the appropriate digital devices, software, and accessories. This will ensure that your children become digitally literate and are capable of using technology to solve problems and accomplish different tasks.
If you want children to develop the foundation of engineering and architecture skills at an early age, add a block learning center to your preschool classroom. Playing with blocks will help children improve their motor skills and learn to work with other classmates in a group environment. It also helps them explore their creative side by building different unique structures.
A music and movement center is where children can get creative and experiment with different sounds and music styles. Find a number of musical instruments for your preschoolers to try. In addition to that, consider incorporating everyday items such as empty bottles, boxes of cereals or rice, or any object with peculiar sounds to help children explore and experience them.
Math and Manipulatives
A math and manipulatives center is exactly what children need to develop critical problem-solving skills and a love for math which will help them succeed later in school and life. Help them build these important skills by providing them with intriguing and inviting materials that make learning a joy. They’ll be busy building and taking things apart without realizing they are actually working on maths problems! Remember to label everything clearly with both words and pictures to help children easily identify them. Math picture books are also a great addition to the math center. Topics can include sorting, number manipulations, patterning, etc.
Young children are still learning how the world works and how to express themselves in different situations. To support this growth and development, consider adding a dramatic play learning center to the classroom. The kids will have an opportunity to role-play as adults in various life situations and careers. Not only will it help them with self-expression, but it also gives them a sense of belonging to a community.
Here are some amazing preschool center ideas for you to try:
- Food market: Your preschoolers will love pretending to buy and sell fresh produce. Having a wide variety of inviting dramatic play foods will help to enrich the experience.
- Hospital: A hospital-themed dramatic play will never go out of fashion because preschoolers never get tired of playing doctor and patient.
- Bakery: Nurture the love for cooking in young children by setting up a dramatic play bakery. The little chefs can then sell their goodies to the rest of the class.
To help children explore their five senses, you can set up a sensory station. This is where kids get to smell, touch, hear, and sense different objects. A blindfold is a good thing to start with. While being blindfolded, kids can sense and guess what item they are experiencing. Leather, sugar, salt, lemon, sandpaper, wool, cotton, etc. are just some examples of objects you can put in the sensory station.
Kids love exploring their environment and finding out about things on their own, and young children are natural scientists constantly developing and testing hypothesis of how the world works. . A weigh station is a great and easy addition – you only need a scale or balance and lots of random objects of different weights to start with. By comparing the weights of different objects, kids can also develop their mathematical skills.
Sand and Water
A sand and water station is a dream come true for most kids. If you’ve ever witnessed how enthusiastic young kids become when they get to the beach and start building sandcastles together, you’ll understand just how entertaining this can be. Not only are sand and water stations entertaining for children, but they also encourage their creativity and sense of community. You can also add different materials to a sand table – rice, bird seed, buttons, pom poms. The possibilities are virtually endless!
Wrapping it Up
Above are ten preschool center ideas to spice up your classroom and make kids eager to come to class every day. Learning centers help kids explore different interests, develop their inherent talent, and overcome their shortcomings in a safe environment. Learning centers appeal to different learning styles. Instead of giving children information and instructing them what to do, you are letting them follow their interests and learn by doing. The dynamic of the preschool classroom, as well as the amount of supervision available, will determine how successful your learning centers will be. Don’t be afraid to test different learning center ideas and give students the flexibility to explore what feels good for them.
Are you looking for support in setting up your preschool center? We are here to help. Contact us today to get started.