Play is a child’s work, and through learning centers children can discover their world as they play. Centers are the perfect vehicle to help children STEAM ahead! Use these descriptions to label centers in your classroom. Invite parents, administrators, and other visitors to walk around the room to find out all the skills children are developing as they play, work, and learn with their friends.
Blocks - It looks like I’m playing, but I am an engineer as I plan and build. I’m also being a mathematician as I explore shapes and space. I’m using my small motor skills and developing the executive function as I organize, complete a task, and take responsibility for cleaning up my projects. I’m using my 21st Century skills as I cooperate, collaborate, and communicate with my friends.
Science - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m doing what scientists do by observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, and reporting. I’m developing a curiosity about the world and using my senses as I problem solve and explore. I’m discovering how to learn by reading books, doing research on the internet, and asking questions. The way I learn best is with HANDS ON materials in the science center.
Art – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing my creativity, small motor skills, social skills, independence, and responsibility. As I plan my design I’m using engineering skills. When I use scissors, glue, or a hole punch I’m using technology. Art gives me a visual way to show what I know and what I’m learning.
Math - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m really a mathematician as I count objects, measure, and sort. I’m also developing concepts about quantity, shapes, addition, and subtraction. When I use tangrams, a ten frame, a ruler, or a calculator I’m learning to feel confident with my ability to use math tools. Doing math is like a puzzle that’s fun to solve.
Table Toys - Yes, even when I’m playing with puzzles, play dough, beads, and pegboards I’m an engineer. I plan, think about what I want to design, and then adapt as I create. I’m developing small muscles, eye-hand coordination, attention span, social skills, and math concepts about size, shape, and pattern.
Sensory Motor (aka Sand and Water Area) – I love to explore (mess around!) with water, sand, rice, and other sensory materials. Give me some measuring cups and I’m doing math. Give me a water wheel, shovel, or tongs and I’m using technology. Give me objects to predict if they will sink or float and I’m a scientist.
Classroom Library – I’m developing reading skills, a love books, and I’m discovering how to learn new things in the classroom library. Animal books, nature magazines, brochures, and field guides all spark my interest in new topics. No matter where I go or what I become it will be important to read and write in the future.
Writing - Paper, pencils, blank books, markers, crayons, and a variety of writing materials give me the opportunity to plan, record data, imagine, recall information, and use my reading and writing skills in a meaningful way.
Dramatic Play – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, social skills, emotional skills, independence, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function. I’m also learning to sort, predict, and do critical thinking as I role-play and solve problems.
EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY –
I’M PLAYING AND LEARNING IN MY OWN SPECIAL WAY!
FULL STEAM AHEAD!!!!
*Thanks to Carolyn Kisloski (ckisloski.blogspot.com) for sharing the pictures of her precious class.