Thoughts About Children and Learning Centers in the Classroom

Learning centers are a great way to engage students in the classroom because this method of learning allows children to develop self-direction and self-motivation. To learn more about learning centers and how they can help children, read on.

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Children's Learning Centers: Basic Information

What Is a Learning Center?

A learning center is station set up in the classroom that allows students to learn independently. Typically, the center will contain a variety of educational materials and resources that are interesting to students and help build on the lessons they've been taught in class. At the station, the students will find self-guided instructions to complete activities. Often, students work in groups to complete the activity.

Types of Learning Centers

No two learning centers are exactly the same, and teachers can be creative in the formats they use for the centers in their classroom. In fact, some teachers create their learning centers after they've talked to their students about their needs and interests. However, the two main types of learning centers are skills centers and enrichment centers.

Skills Center

Skills centers are usually set up after the teacher has given the students an introductory lesson on a particular skill. At the center, various stations are set up for students to practice and apply the new skill they learned. The teacher will usually assign students to start at certain stations and the students will switch to a new station after mastering the station they were assigned to first.

Enrichment Center

Enrichment centers are designed to allow the students to choose their activities. Unlike skill centers, teachers don't usually dictate what stations students need to visit first. Rather, the stations are set up to accommodate the students' various learning styles. Furthermore, enrichment centers are usually used to engage students who work faster than others and who show quick mastery over certain skills and concepts.

Benefits of Learning Centers

Learning centers give students something constructive and educational to do when they've finished an assignment. This helps the overall class environment by keeping the children engaged and allowing the teacher the opportunity to work with individuals who may need extra help on an assignment or lesson. Second, the centers help foster student accountability by encouraging students to take a personal, active role in the learning process. Finally, learning centers help to differentiate instruction because students learn at different paces. Students who are ahead of others in the class can continue to learn at their own pace.

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