Play Centers Labels are a way to share with anyone that enters your classroom what the children are learning in each play area.
We all know as educators that play sets the foundation for learning. It would really frustrate me when I would hear comments like “must be fun to play all day.” But according to the wise Fred Rogers, “Play is serious learning.” Which is why I created the “I am” statements cards. These eye catching cards are hard to miss. When any adult enters the room or an area of the classroom, they will be able to see one specified learning outcome at each area.
I Am Statement Signs
Not only are they really cute, the cards also help clearly define the areas of the classroom. The kids will use language associated with the centers more readily when an area is defined.
Play Center Rotation Boards and Labels
In the beginning of school, and throughout the year the most important goal is to help children build social and play skills. This can be really hard to monitor with so many children in the class. Although I am a huge fan of open ended free play, I found it a struggle to help children strengthen skills they were struggling with. We also ran into the problem of kids with poor social skills playing with kids that also had poor social skills and children being left out because of preschool clicks. To avoid this I created a play rotation board.
To easiest way to create the board is to print off the center cards that you need for your classroom and then glue them to library pockets. I set the board and centers up to match the rotation in the room. If the room has the art center next to the puzzle center, they will be next to each other on the board. Start simple. Add centers as children learn to rotate.
I take a picture of each child and print it off on card stock. Then, I glue it to a large craft stick (my family is shown in pics). I break the kids in to groups according to skills. I like to put outgoing kids with shy, or shy with shy, young with mature, young with young. I change it each week as I monitor progress. The goal is that the kids are using problem solving techniques and are supported within the group. Eventually the goal is that you could place any four kids together in a group and they will get along.
Play Center Signs Variation
Magnet boards and white boards are great ways to use the center signs. I love that I can use magnets, craft sticks or even clothespins to change up the centers. Kid love to come to school each day to see which center they will play at. I change the goals of the center and add new items each week to keep them excited and eager to rotate.
There are editable pages that you can use to map out the goals and main activity at each center. I like to keep them in a binder to see what goals and standards I have used and the ones I have yet to address. There are center check-off lists and group planning pages as well.
I love that the play center rotations allow kids to experience each area of the classroom. Prior to using them, I would have the same kids playing in the same centers with the same friends everyday. They missed areas that could have led to a new learning and interests. With the rotating centers they experience all that the curriculum has to offer!