When you are running a play-based preschool classroom, centers are the core of the program. Carefully planned centers create an environment for learning through play because play is not a break from hard work, play is a child’s work!
But sometimes, as the teacher, wrapping your head around all the moving parts of play-based centers can be a challenge!
Questions start swarming in your head… ‘Which centers should I have in my classroom? What are the most common centers? I know I want blocks and art, but what other centers should I add?’
Those questions lead to more questions… ‘What do I put in the centers? What materials are essential? Also, how long should I schedule center time for? I have other things we have to do in our schedule, how long is needed for free play?’
And, as they usually do… questions lead to a rabbit hole of questions… ‘Can I keep the same materials in the centers the whole year? Won’t children get bored? Should I change centers out? If so, how often should I change them?’
By this point the questions have overwhelmed your brain and ‘awww… help!’ feeling sets in.
Can you relate?
Yep, me too! This is exactly what my brain was doing when I stepped into the preschool world (stepping out of the first grade world) many moons ago.
And when my brain does this I just have to lay it all out (usually on paper) and organize my thoughts.. while also researching best practice and relying on my degree in early ed.
So, as you can guess, this is what I did! And since I know I am not the only teacher with all the questions swarming.. I just HAD to share it with you!
The Guide to Preschool Centers was created many years ago, but just got a new update. I have added answers or recommendations to ALL the questions you read above.