Kinder teachers use "centers" in many different ways at the Creek.
As the year begins some kinder teachers use traditional kindergarten centers in the afternoon at the end of the day such as Painting, Housekeeping, and Blocks. These centers usually phase out quickly as the children become more interested in Reading and Writing, Math and Science.
Some teachers add "Literacy Centers" this time of year to extend the reading time in Readers' Workshop. These centers all require a child to read connected text such as Read the Room, Partner Reading, ABC Books, or Read to a Stuffed Animal. One of my personal favorite Literacy Stations is Book in a Basket where a child chooses a book to read inside a large laundry basket. I think it's just the fun of having your own space to read that tweaks my imagination!
Other teachers introduce "Skill Centers" this time of year in kindergarten to provide extra manipulative practice for reading skills. Children can be seen putting the letters together of students' names in the class at the Star Names center. Children can be seen making letters of the alphabet with play doh or using white boards to draw pictures and write the word. Other children can be seen on the floor matching upper and lower case letters or using magnetic letters to make words. Still others can be seen doing alphabet puzzles or working on the computer.
The idea behind "centers" is to give children choices about their learning. Centers also require movement, sharing and language. They should be designed to be multi-leveled so that a teacher can easily differentiate instruction. They are not an afterthought to keep kids busy but are intentional and well designed so that children practice skills that they need. Just like we give children choices during center time, we also give teachers choices in the type of centers they want to include in their kindergarten day at Chets Creek. Regardless of the type of centers in each classroom, this certainly is a favorite activity for the children!
For more information about Centers in Chets Creeks' Kindergartens, visit the Chets Creek kindergarten wiki or the Mall-ards' post Literacy Work Stations: Growing Independence.