Dramatic Play offers an opportunity for children to be creative and use their imagination. In this area, the children expand upon their understanding of the world by pretending to be another person, such as a mom cooking dinner, or the doctor they visited. The interactions between children and staff in this area help a child understand emotions, nurture empathy for others, and expand upon their thinking skills.
Blocks encourage problem solving, language and math concepts, beyond the creativity of design and structure. Blocks allow children to create what they see in the world around them and construct communities, towns, buildings, homes, zoos, and so much more.
Toys and Games allow children to cooperate with others, through sharing and taking turns. These items encourage language, work on problem solving, offer opportunities for hand-eye coordination, the sorting of objects, and hands on learning of how things work.
Art allows children to create, express feelings, show thoughts, and create stories. Free expression and creative thought are extremely important to the child’s understanding of their own thoughts and feelings.
Art materials provide practice in fine motor skill like the pincher grasp, kneading of clay, and prewriting skills. Often, it is the activity or process of using the materials that helps children learn, more than the final product.
The Library or the reading area opens the world up to children. Stories can help children understand emotions, learn about places and the world around them, and give them an opportunity to imagine, and create stories of their own. This also provides an area for quiet time, or for quieter children to feel comfortable. This gives them an area to explore through colorful pictures, images, and stories read out loud.
Sand and Water (Sensory Table) offers different materials that the children can work with, explore, discover, measure, discuss and use their five senses. Describing the way something feels build vocabulary. Discovering that objects sink while others float, introduces scientific experiments observation, comparison, and classification.
Music and Movement help develop gross motor skills, and allow children to express their feelings. When music and movement are combined, children use both sides of their brain, allowing them to have a creative outlet, and build upon their own skills and coordination.
Computers are in all of our classrooms and have an important role in our world of technology. Often times they are used for the children to hear different types of music. A computer is also used with supervision and for a specific purpose, such as to investigate questions, and help children problem solve. Screen time is monitored and used for these specific purposes.
Cooking, while not included as a center in our physical classroom, is a component of our weekly and/or monthly lesson plans based on the class and the age group. Cooking allows children to try new foods, measure ingredients, follow a recipe, and have ownership of something they will eat.
Outdoors: We have a relatively large playground that allows the children to explore and work on important gross motor skills at the age appropriate level. Children have the opportunity to run, jump, dig, hop, balance, climb, swing, slide, and build muscles.
Children explore the world and environment around them when outdoors. They use all of their senses while outside; discovering bugs, noticing the leaves changing colors and falling from the trees, hearing a bird chirp, or watching the clouds. Outside play provides knowledge of the environment and their own place within it.
Discovery area also referred to as the Science area is exactly what the title states, an opportunity to discover, wonder, question, and experiment on real life materials. Children use all five senses, and logical thinking skills to see what happens if we water a plant every day or if we do not water a plant at all. Other items might include seashells, rocks, or insect specimens and magnifying glasses.
All of our centers are designed for the children to naturally explore, learn through play, and build upon their own knowledge of how things work. Each area has a way to help with social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development.