Designing Learning Center As already discussed in your textbook, a learning center is a self-contained area with a variety of hands-on materials organized around a specific curriculum area. Learning centers can also be referred to as learning stations, interest areas, activity areas, or work stations. Almost every early childhood classroom is arranged to accommodate learning centers. We choose this form of room arrangement because the use of learning centers is consistent with early childhood philosophy. Having these centers readily available in the classroom provides an environment conducive to preschool learning. For this graded project, you’ll design a learning center that could be used in a preschool classroom. You’ll select one of the following areas—Manipulative, Block, or Dramatic Play—and create a high-quality learning center to use in an early childhood classroom. Your design must meet the following criteria:
■ Is the purpose of the center evident to targeted children?
■ Is the center inviting and aesthetically pleasing?
■ Is there an abundance of materials—enough so that children don’t have to wait or get stymied in their attempts to create?
■ Are materials developmentally appropriate, providing challenges but not being so difficult that children become frustrated?
■ Are there materials for a wide range of developmental levels?
■ If the materials are closed ended, are they self-correcting?
■ Do the materials reflect cultural diversity?
■ Are there materials that reflect the lives of children with disabilities? 78 Graded Project
■ Are materials anti-biased?
■ Are materials readily available and in reach of the children?
■ Are materials organised?
■ Are shelves labeled so children can find items and know where to put them away?
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Create a diagram of the classroom indicating where the center will be located.2. Begin designing your center. Be sure to review the correlating chapter in your textbook including the center assessment checklists provided for the chosen area. 3. Create a list of materials that you plan to include and a basic diagram of the layout of your center. 4. Write a 500-word essay (minimum) about your learning center design. Include the following points in your essay:
■Which center you chose to develop and why
■ What items are included and why they are included
■ How materials are displayed
■ How materials are stored
■ Your plan for changing and updating learning materials in the center
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