Last week I shared the plan I use for changing out my preschool centers. Go and check it out if you haven’t: When Center Time Gets Overwhelming. There are some good tips to lessening the overwhelm of changing out centers. And keeping with that theme – today I want to share some tips and tricks to prep and manage centers to reduce that overwhelm even further!
Shall we get to it?
Tip #1: Prep in bulk. The blogging world calls it batching, but it is essentially the idea that when you are doing something, do all of that something so that your brain can repeat the task and therefore make it faster. For example: I like to prep all of one type of center together ahead of time, if I can. Take Magnet Center Games… instead of prepping one a week, I prepped them all at once and got faster at process by repeating it.
Tip #2: Save everything you make/gather for centers in an organized way.
Whether it be ziptop baggies, file boxes, three-ring binders, folders or tubs – organize it after you use it. Take my advise on this, as someone who knows… it takes a lot longer to organize ALL THE THINGS later than it does just to do it in the moment! Plus, the next school year you can just grab it and go!
Tip #3: Share centers with a teacher friend.
Have a teacher friend that loves to share? Tag team centers! Each make a set of centers and then trade – double the centers for less work. I do this now and it is SO nice. Plus, I know my hardwork is being used by more kiddos too!
Tip #4: Ask parents for assistance and supplies.
Parents never cease to amaze me with their support. Just by putting out a supply need in the newsletter we have received more than we ever needed. Truth is parents like to help, but sometimes they don’t know what you need! In addition to supplies, parents can be great helpers with cutting out lamination or activities. I had some of the best parent helpers prepping things so I didn’t have to. They truly are a blessing – you just have to ask!
Tip #5: Start small and add more over the years.
This one is a hard one for me because when I have a plan I want to get it all done that second. But, then reality sets in and I usually only have a finite amount of time to prep what I want to. So, every year I add a little more or even add a new center to change out. But, just as we are… our centers are a work in progress – give yourself grace!
Tip #6: Search for ready-made options to save heaps of time.
The teaching resource market is bigger than ever before. Long gone are the days where you had to create everything yourself. We now have so many quality options! So, to save loads of time and maybe even gain some new activity ideas – try looking at ready-made digital options and you can prep centers when you need them. The Lovely Commotion Preschool Resources shop is full of teacher and student approved resources, so come take a look!