The Versatility of Centres

Teacher-directed activities, such as circle time, can proceed into center time which is child-directed. Alternating teacher-directed and child-directed activities provides variation while helping children learn to control their own behaviour. They can focus better on the teacher-directed activity since they know that it will be followed by center time when they can choose the activity. Centers also provides an opportunity to rotate active and quiet periods during the day.

Centers are a special component, allowing children to participate in play activities which are self-directed. In centers there are opportunities to interact with different children. The child works individually or with a partner, helping him or her to become more independent or learn to work cooperatively. The versatility of centers make them an essential ingredient in an effective early childhood classroom that is appropriately designed for young learners.

When playing in centers, young children:

  • Make choices, developing confidence in their problem solving abilities.
  • Expand their oral language, combining words with their activity.
  • Enhance their creative abilities, determining the direction of their play and selecting materials.
  • Develop social skills as they work with others.
  • Understand others as they ry out roles and participate in play sequences.
  • Develop responsibility as they build with and care for the materials they are using.
  • Learn how to make plans and carry them to completion, developing persistence in a task.
  • Move into more advanced play as they develop roles, sequencing and working cooperatively with others in the episodes.
  • Develop longer attention spans as they increase the length of time they work in centers and participate in activities which interest them.
  • Develop their understanding of symbols as they use concrete items in their play and move to imaginative representations.
  • Enhance their self-image as they learn that they can influence their world as they participate in the center.
  • Experience integrated learning as they use all areas of the curriculum in meaningful ways.

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