PK and Kinder Learning Centers

Austin ISD Early Childhood

https://www.smore.com/fm4c0

Austin ISD's early childhood classrooms follow a "center-based" model. It is expected that all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms be set up with learning centers that are strategically placed and defined. The classroom and centers should be organized with self-correcting, high quality, hands on activities that are aligned with the Texas PK Guidelines or Kindergarten TEKS. The environment should consist of quiet and active areas for learning. Walls and spaces that reflect children's ownership and depict their work and projects are all part of what make a high quality learning environment.
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WHAT CENTERS ARE REQUIRED?

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WHY DO WE NEED CENTERS?

Centers are a large part of instruction in early childhood classrooms. Centers enable children to be actively involved with "hands-on" activities and give children an opportunity to be independent and to work in a self-directed way. By emphasizing an activity's process rather than its product, centers set children up for success. The same center can benefit children with wide varieties of learning styles and skill levels. (ECIRCLE Classroom Management).

HOW SHOULD CENTERS BE ARRANGED?

Setting up the classroom with well defined centers...


  • promotes higher quality verbal interactions;
  • provides opportunities for increased cooperative play;
  • increases ability to focus on specific tasks with fewer distractions;
  • helps children make choices more easily.



Setting up Learning Centers


  • Arrange centers with 2-3 sides (use furniture, shelves, walls, tables, etc. to form centers)
  • Separate noisy and quiet centers.
  • Integrate tables and chairs into centers as appropriate.
  • Label materials and shelves with words and pictures.
  • Include books and writing materials in every center.
  • Include theme related materials in every center.

ROOM ARRANGEMENT SAMPLE

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LET'S CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING

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Match the floor plan with the following outcomes:


  1. The children are having trouble concentrating while they read. They're distracted, and they frequently look around the room to see what other children are doing.
  2. The teacher addresses the children while they're at the centers in small groups, she makes her rounds repeating announcements and reviewing schedules for each small group of children.
  3. No matter how strongly the teacher discourages them, the children often run in the classroom. When they're not supervised, they run, roll, and tumble on the floor.

HOW DO I MANAGE CENTERS?

The goal is to have a balance of direct instruction with indirect instruction in a way that enables children to work independently and to manage and guide each other and themselves.


Children need to know what to expect and what will be expected of them. One way to do this is with classroom management charts. Below are examples:

WHERE DO I FIT CENTERS IN MY DAY?

In Pre-k there should be at least 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted free choice center time. Dual Language classrooms will also have an additional 30 minutes of bilingual learning centers in which children go to centers with their "bilingual pair".


In Kindergarten, centers generally fall under the language arts block and math block. Keep in mind that whole group lessons should be no longer than 15-20 minutes to allow more time for small group instruction and independent practice during centers.

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WHAT DO I PUT IN CENTERS?

  • Hands-on activities
  • Open ended
  • Varying levels
  • Aligned with guidelines or TEKS
  • Related to theme/unit of study
  • Content vocabulary
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Rotate materials/activities to match objectives and to keep children's interest
The following resource is available for all AISD Kindergarten teachers. It can be found on the Early Childhood internal website. (Kindergarten --> Classroom Environments--> Super Centers by Unit Theme)
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Follow our Pinterest boards for center ideas.

https://www.pinterest.com/austinisdec/

ABC/WRITING

PRETEND AND LEARN

CONSTRUCTION/BLOCKS

SCIENCE

MATH

LIBRARY/LISTENING

ART

SENSORY