Friday, September 16, 2016

Play Based Centers

Our play-based centers were a HUGE hit with the kindergarten students this week!  The goal of these centers is to provide kids the opportunity to self-select projects to work on, based on their own interest.  As you can imagine, getting 22 five year olds to work on projects together for a sustained period of time is a remarkable challenge.  We begin this work by introducing areas of play which are familiar to kids.  These are things they may already be familiar with and probably know how to work with appropriately.  Adding friends to the mix, learning to share materials, and learning to interact with one another is our next step.  This week, our focus was just on learning to love and take care of ourselves, our classroom, and our community.

We opened up the bean/sensory table and added scoops for measuring.

The Lego table was open for building and lots of imaginative play.

The ponies are an absolute favorite!  I've loved watching the kids have their ponies take on the roll of certain characters.

The kids love the barn too. I picked this up for my daughter at a garage sale, many years ago.  She loved telling stories with her horses too and I would take pictures of each scene for her to make a book out of later.

The Home Center can be messy at times, but it has already been turned into a kitchen inside of a home, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.

Dora's dollhouse is another one of those activities that builds the language kids need for story telling.  I often hear kids saying things like, "Maybe we should have Dora be walking to her grandma's house and then Swiper can come up and find her."  Just like that, they are identifying characters and coming up with a problem for the story.

The cars and our rug mat have become a place of counting and dividing.  The kids love to line up all of the cars and then make sure everyone has an even number.  

Playdough has to be my personal favorite center.  I make playdough for each new month and put different toys out for kids to explore.  Playdough is great for developing fine motor skills, as it builds the muscles in our hands and fingers.

As I mentioned, the play-based centers will become more play/project based as the year goes on.  Right now, I want these kids to LOVE coming to school each day.  I want them to learn to take care of themselves, take care of each other, and take care of our classroom.  They are wonderful children with beautiful hearts and this is an amazing time for them!

Happy playing!

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