Let’s take a look at what a learning center is. Get these set up for your preschool and the children will have reliable, comfortable places that they can go for learning and playing.
When you set up your preschool you will have different areas of your room that will concentrate on one aspect of a preschooler’s learning. As a child plays in these different learning centers during their free play, your preschooler will be learning lessons that will help him or her progress.
The different learning travelguidebook centers are: art, fine motor, gross motor/outdoor, science/discovery, dramatic play, reading/quiet, and computer.
What do you think a child learns as he plays in the art learning center? The number one thing that comes to mind is CREATIVITY. Along with creativity, sensory experiences are very important for young children. Feel and touch are enjoyable but they are also learn how different materials flow, move, feel, maybe even taste.
Children learn to complete a cycle when involved in the whole activity. They can begin with preparing the art materials, like mixing the paints. They can help choose the colors. They can make decisions on the amount of water so the consistency is to their liking. Then they can feel the satisfaction of using the materials they helped to create, followed by the clean-up and storage of the project and the materials.
These good work habits that are learned through the art learning center that you provided in your preschool, will be with your preschoolers throughout their lifetime.
When materials are placed where the children can choose, they are learning independence. When they put things back where they got them, they are learning how to follow rules. When clean-up supplies are readily available, children learn pride in themselves by cleaning up after themselves. They learn to appreciate a clean, beautiful, wholesome environment at a young age.
Children are also learning how to express themselves through the medium that is provided. When their project, with their name on it, that they created, is displayed in the classroom or at home they are learning that sense of pride and satisfaction.
When a child helps another child with ideas or materials or clean-up there is cooperation, sharing, leadership and other learning that will last into adulthood.
They are also developing fine motor skills. Small muscle activities include cutting, pasting, working with collages, coloring, finger-painting, brush painting, and working with play dough just to name a few. Give you children plenty of time to develop dexterity and eye-hand coordination.
Don’t give your preschoolers too many directions. Just provide the materials, maybe give some examples and let them create what they want. The use of the materials is more important than the finished product. As they explore they are learning to use their imagination, their creativity, and their initiative.
Set up guidelines before an activity begins. Limits or rules should be clearly defined and scrupulously maintained. Children learn to follow the direction of adults when you are consistent.
Different art activities will be used for different themes. As the children participate in the art activities they will be learning about the theme for the day or the theme for the week. For example: during a theme on animals, the preschooler could draw, paint, construct with play dough, make animal hats from construction paper, etc. all to encourage their learning about animals. While they are doing this they are also learning all the things that have been outlined above and more.
I hope that you can see the importance of learning centers for your preschool. In the art learning center there is much to explore, much to learn and much to have fun doing.
Mary Beth Collins is a former preschool teacher and high school teacher. She is the mother of 3 grown children and a granddaughter. Now she is developing a blog about everything preschool and preschool curriculum.