July 28, 2011

Center Basics

I get asked how I do centers in my classroom. I do not have a center rotation. First, I can not keep up with a rotation chart. What if little Sally is gone one day? Does she stay at the same center or does she not get to play at that center until the next week? Also, what if the child doesn't want to play at a certain center? If forced to, will they really be learning? I have a center chart. You will notice there is population control, or a limit to the number of children at each center. Otherwise, it is free choice. The kids can pick what center they go to and change as many times as they want during center time. The first week or so is hard- the kids want to change centers every few minutes. However, the novelty of switching centers wears off. I use actual photos of the centers so the kids know exactly where they are going. Last year, the centers/number of children were: Computer Center (2), Water Table (2), Sensory Table (2), Art Easel (2), Art Center (4), Puzzles & Games (4), Block Center (4), Pretend Center (3), Writing Center (4), and Reading Center (3). I have been moving my classroom around so the numbers might change a bit. The types of centers will be the same.


  1. I do student directed centers also, except the children have a job center which they have to visit at some point during their center time each day. Usually the job center has a special activity or project and the kids can't wait to visit the job center. I love that it is child directed! I feel like the learn so much more when they get to choose what they are going to do. How did you make your center chart? I've tried so many different ways and the velcro falls off or something breaks. I just haven't found a durable solution yet. I would love to hear what worked for you

  2. Anonymous said...Hi Kerry! In the past, I used foam board. When I changed it out, I used masonite board (because I happened to have it in my garage). It is like pegboard without the holes. The velcro stays on very well. The only time I have had issues is when I have bought the cheap stuff or tried to hot glue on the sew on kind. HTH! :) Jill