In Pre-K Four, children are free to explore a variety of centers designed to engage, inspire, and help students build their skills. The centers may evolve and change throughout the year based on our growth, our interests, and our current themes. Each center includes materials that are multilevel and open-ended so each child can be challenged appropriately. In every center, children have access to tools to build literacy, as well, such as books or writing materials. Our centers are shown and listed below!
In the construction zone, children explore and investigate. Here, there are wooden blocks, model building, people, and vehicles. Some materials also rotate, like magnatiles, Legos, marble tracks, inter-star blocks, waffle blocks, natural blocks, ramps, train tracks, and more! Students learn socialization skills, math and science concepts, and literacy skills. Children learn to collaborate by sharing ideas and materials. They learn about many attributes that affect construction and building, like size, shape, texture, and weight. We can explore new vocabulary for shapes, too! We can observe children exploring, working cooperatively, sorting, grouping, comparing and arranging materials. Children experiment with spatial and structural components of building that help to build inquiry skills and mathematical thinking. What can we create and construct this year?
This center is equipped with a large selection of books. Our library has alphabet books, wordless books, factual books, math books, silly books, science books, books with rhymes, books about transportation, community helpers, character education, health, and many more types. The books are often rotated according to the child interests and classroom themes. The library helps us to gain a love for reading, whether we explore the pages independently, with friends, or with teachers.
The writing center features many interactive materials. Children always have access to lined paper, sentence strips, copy paper, envelopes, large pencils, a “special words” bin, skinny pencils, and writing folders. There are also many literacy and writing materials that rotate throughout the year. Currently, the writing center features letter bingo, fishing for letters, uppercase lacing letters, alphabet bean bags, snap together letters, and simple word builders. All of these materials are to help children build fine motor skills, letter recognition, and beginning writing skills. We love to write letters to our friends and family, learn about letters, develop our vocabularies, and practice our names!
The discovery center features science and sensory manipulatives for our young learners to explore. Sensory materials are rotated by our theme or by student interest. We will start the year by observing and learning the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly! Science tools will often rotate, as well. Children can enjoy the use of tools like magnifying glasses, tweezers, dry-erase boards, eye droppers, life cycle games, magnets, weight recognition boxes, sound recognition boxes, observation tubes, scales, and more. Materials help students question, inquire, and conduct experiments. We can discover in this center!
In the art center, children are able to express themselves through a variety of means! Children develop their fine motor skills, learn to recognize colors, identify patterns, recognize shapes, make original art, and explore texture. We learn to appreciate the art of their peers and enjoy sharing our own creations, too. Some items in this center are standard pencils, markers, colored pencils, paints, crayons, and multicultural materials. We have all types of paper, scissors, glue, pipe cleaners, straws, play dough, floam, and stencils. Children can use dough stampers and molding tools to manipulate clays, play doughs, and floam. We will soon be adding an easel for extended art activities, how exciting!
We encourage children to send in materials from home that can be recycled into new creations in our art center! Families have sent in items such as empty cardboard toilet tissue rolls, empty paper towel rolls and envelopes from their “junk” mail.
The puzzle center is a place where children can work independently or in a group to solve puzzles. Working with puzzles allow children to explore the composition of shapes. Children are offered a variety of puzzles from large floor puzzles to small eight piece puzzles to accommodate many learners.
Dramatic play is an area of our classroom where children can enter a world of imagination. Children have access to materials including costumes, accessories, play kitchen items (stove, sink, fridge, etc.), model food, a mirror, and dolls. Some materials will be rotated to keep the area exciting and engaging. The dramatic play area enables our friends to build social skills, act out roles, learn about our community, and more. We love to work with our friends and build meaningful relationships with one another while playing in this center.
The Cozy Corner is a safe place where students can build social-emotional skills. This is a ‘warm and cozy’ space where children may go to see pictures of their family, learn about emotions, read books, and seek comfort. When a friend is feeling angry or sad, they might use this space to cool down.