Center time provides critical learning opportunities in an early childhood classroom. This time of independent or cooperative play allows students to practice skills and concepts taught during direct instruction using engaging hands-on activities. It is also a time for students to build language skills and practice new vocabulary. During this training, teachers will learn how to impact this time of learning and vocabulary development using three key components.
Prekindergarten students often lack vocabulary and background knowledge about many topics. Themes allow students to experience a topic and not just hear about it. When a theme is planned well, children are able to use new vocabulary in authentic, memorable ways. Teachers will be shown how to thoughtfully plan and prepare centers based on a theme.
Center choices should connect to the theme and skills taught during direct instruction. Choice and sufficient time allows students to connect new learning to what they already know and can do successfully. During this training, teachers will be provided several examples for each center to ensure they understand how to thoughtfully plan and design purposeful choices in advance so they support language and the mastery of content.
Thoughtful conversations support students use of new language and they prompt and guide student’s thinking and processing. Teachers will learn the importance of engaging their students in conversations during play.