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Learning Centers in an Early Childhood Special Education Classroom. Carrie Zaher SpEd 635-OL Professor Y. Morales. Definition.

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Learning centers in an early childhood special education classroom

Learning Centers in an Early Childhood Special Education Classroom

Carrie Zaher

SpEd 635-OL

Professor Y. Morales


Definition
Definition Classroom

  • Learning centers are spaces within the early childhood setting where materials or equipment are gathered and arranged in order to promote specific types of learning skills, such as large and small motor skills, literacy skills, creative thinking skills, and math and science problem-solving skills.


Arrangement
Arrangement Classroom

  • Safety is one of the major considerations in the arrangement of learning centers in the setting.

  • Noise level is another factor to consider. Active, noisy centers should be placed away from quiet learning areas such as the writing center, reading center and science/math center, if room allows.

  • Learning centers and the equipment in them should be accessible to all children, including those with temporary or permanent disabilities.

  • Teachers can promote positive social interaction and cooperative work by designing learning center spaces that are suitable for small groups of various sizes, because it is in small groups that children best learn to cooperate.


Basic learning centers
Basic Learning Centers Classroom

  • Science and Math Discovery Learning

  • Sensory Learning

  • Housekeeping and Dramatic Play

  • Large-Muscle Learning Area

  • Blocks Learning Area

  • Small-Muscle Area

  • Creative Process-Art Media Area

  • Music and Movement

  • Literacy and Library Areas


Science and math discovery learning
Science and Math Discovery Learning Classroom

  • In this area one would find:

    • groupings of plants, small animals such as fish, guinea pigs or snails

    • Items from nature

    • Pictures and books relating to current interests of children

    • Tubbing, graphing and counting materials

    • Tools for observation and measurement by children


What do children learn
What do children learn? Classroom

  • Children learn about the needs of other living things and beings by helping to care for plants or nonhuman animals.

  • This center also promotes problem-solving skills.


Sensory learning
Sensory Learning Classroom

  • This center would include a table or bins of sensory materials that are rotated for children’s exploration, as well as the sand table, the water table and clay or playdough.

  • Items used in the sensory table include:

    • Cups

    • Funnels

    • Sponges

    • Shovels and other containers for dumping and pouring

    • Rice and oatmeal (dry and wet)

    • Dry beans

    • Shaving cream

    • Goop

    • Dirt


What do children learn1
What do children learn? Classroom

  • They learn to use their senses through:

    • Smell

    • Taste

    • Touch

    • Sight

    • Sound

  • The sensory table promotes tactile exploration


Housekeeping and dramatic play
Housekeeping and Dramatic Play Classroom

  • This learning center usually includes:

    • Toy kitchen with appliances

    • Dishes, utensils, pots and pans

    • Iron, broom, dustpan

    • Telephone

    • Dress-up clothes and costumes

    • Baby dolls

    • Crib, stroller, high chair

    • Stuffed animals

    • Pretend food

    • Baskets and small shopping cart

    • Fake money


What do children learn2
What do children learn? Classroom

  • This area promotes children’s use of

    • Imagination

    • Dramatic play

    • Adaptive skills


Large muscle learning area
Large-Muscle Learning Area Classroom

  • Ample space, such as circle time area, is ideal for this area.

  • Active play equipment includes:

    • Climbing apparatus

    • Balance beams

    • Tumbling mats

    • Tricycles

    • Balls

    • Swings

    • Slide


What do children learn3
What do children learn? Classroom

  • Children’s motor skills are developed and enhanced through play

  • They have a certain amount of freedom of movement


Blocks learning area
Blocks Learning Area Classroom

  • This area is a good place to observe how children play.

  • Materials usually found in this area include:

    • Wooden blocks of various sizes and colors

    • Cardboard blocks

    • Toy garages, farm buildings, and other buildings

    • Cars and trucks of various sizes

    • Toy trains and train tracks

    • Boards

    • Toy people, action figures, or other characters

    • Snap together blocks

    • Building sets

    • Puppets

    • Toy nonhuman animals


What do children learn4
What do children learn? Classroom

  • The daily and appropriate use of unit blocks teaches:

    • Cooperation and social skills

    • Creativity and dramatic play

    • Spatial relationships

    • Perceptual skills

    • Math, science and language skills


Small muscle area
Small-Muscle Area Classroom

  • This area or learning center is defined for the use of:

    • Table toys

    • Manipulatives

    • Bristle blocks

    • Puzzles

    • Stringing beads


What do children learn5
What do children learn? Classroom

  • Materials should support both success and challenge for children.

  • It helps strengthen skills such as:

    • Strength

    • Eye-hand coordination

    • Dexterity


Art area
Art Area Classroom

  • The art learning center will include space for tables and easels and should be located near the storage of art media materials of all kinds.

  • Activities at this center can include:

    • Clay or playdough

    • Painting

    • Many types of collage

    • Fingerpaint

    • Construction with recycled materials

    • Drawing

    • Cutting


What do children learn6
What do Classroomchildren learn?

  • Creativity and individuality

  • Imagination

  • Master simple shapes and colors

  • Communication skills

  • Enhances prewriting skills, squeezing and gripping, enhancing muscle development and coordination


Music and movement area
Music and Movement Area Classroom

  • This is a learning area that usually doubles with the large-muscle/active play area, and which includes:

    • Tapes and tape player

    • CDs and CD player

    • Musical instruments

  • Accessories for movement such as:

    • Paper pom-poms

    • Scarves

    • Ribbons or streamers


What do children learn7
What do children learn? Classroom

  • During movement activities, motor skills are developed and enhanced through play.

  • Children learn new vocabulary and concepts through music, even when they do not grasp the meanings of the same words when those words are used in conversation.

  • Songs facilitate vocalization and increase the number and spontaneous use of vocabulary words.


Literacy and library areas
Literacy and Library Areas Classroom

  • The reading center should be:

    • Quiet, attractive and comfortable

    • Books and picture books should be:

      • Age-appropriate

      • Free of bias

      • Include multicultural subject matter

      • Accessible

      • Properly stored so that children can see their choices


Literacy and library area cont d
Literacy and Library Area cont’d Classroom

  • In the writing center children will need materials such as:

    • Old greeting cards

    • Paper

    • Envelopes

    • Big pencils

    • Crayons

    • Markers

    • Individual journals


Computer area
Computer Area Classroom

  • The computer can be can be used in conjunction with many of the learning centers themselves.

  • Computers can also be it’s own center.


Conclusion
Conclusion Classroom

  • The best thing to keep in mind is that the centers should make the children feel successful!

  • Remember to be flexible and change your centers to fit the children’s needs.


References
References Classroom

  • Dunlap, L. L. (2008) An Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education: Birth to Age Five. In V. Lanigan (Ed.). The Importance of Play (pp. 352-388). New Jersey- Pearson Education, Inc.

  • Petersen, E. A. (1996) A Practical Guide to Early Childhood Planning, Methods, and Materials: the what, why, and how of lesson plans. Where It Happens: Basic Elements of the Setting (pp. 112-130). Massachusetts-Allyn & Bacon.


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