Why Learning Centers are important for Pre-K students:
The benefits of learning centers in a Pre-k classroom are clearly defined. Learning centers, promote independence, foster decision making, and encourage involvement. When the classroom is divided into interesting areas, children are offered clear choices, which makes learning simple and fun.
Housekeeping Area: The house center is the area of the classroom dedicated to "playing house." The work children do in the house center is called dramatic play, or make-believe. Why is dramatic play so important to young children? As children act out roles in the house center, they develop many new skills. They learn about themselves, their families, and society around them. Children learn to ask and answer questions and work together to solve problems.
Table Activity and Toy Area: At this center the teacher's role is to provide encouragement, help children get involved with toys, introduce new skills, and talk with the children about their efforts and accomplishments. The goal at the center is for the children to investigate the physical properties of the toys or activity presented for the day. This helps them acquire emerging skills and concepts, such as, patterning, matching, writing, letter recognition, etc..
Computers/Puzzle Area: At this center "Mirroring" is a key instructional strategy that uses the computers and teacher directed methods of teaching. The computer programs reinforce the exact same concepts teachers are teaching their children. The more ways a child is able to explore a concept, the more likely it is that a child will internalize that concept. Computers also offer a good resource for helping children develop language. For example, linking words to pictures, or creating or hearing a story from a computer software program can enhance language and literacy skills.
When children construct puzzles, or build with toys, such as, legos, pegs, links, etc. they are enriching and extending their problem solving skills. By introducing new props, toys, and special activities during these learning centers every day, it creates an exciting and educational learning environment and classroom setting for young children to learn.