Interest Learning Centers are areas set up within the classroom each with a specific focus that encourage children to participate in the focus of that area. The purpose or goal of an Interest Center is to allow children to learn in the way they learn best: through play!
Preschool children learn how to use materials in your classroom, well, by using them!
You can tell them how to lace beads in a pattern, but unless they have ample time to simply hold the beads, hold the string, and use their eye-hand coordination to figure out how they work, the patterning will take a while to figure out!
Interest centers allow children this time to manipulate the materials you have available for them, explore them at their own pace and become familiar with them all of which leads to them being able to take their exploration to the next level.
Multiple goals or concepts can be learned through the various interest learning centers.
Their language and literacy skills improve not only in the Library Area by reading or being read to and using flannel boards to retell stories, but also in the Dramatic Play Center where they draw and read menus at their restaurant or read recipes to cook for their children!
Materials available in each Interest Center should be changed occasionally so that children have access to a variety of materials over time. Often, the materials are changed to reflect the current Theme being used in the classroom. It is important to clean and sanitize the materials after they have been out for use to kill any germs or bacteria.
Soak the materials in warm soapy water, rinse, spray with a solution of 1 tbsp. bleach to 1 quart of water, let air dry and then store away until next time.
Prior to putting new materials in your interest centers, check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. This site will let you know of any items that have been recalled for safety issues. This site is updated often and you can sign up for their notifications!
How and where do you places each interest center? Which interest centers should you set up in your classroom?
This Classroom Design page will discuss the basics of how to set up Interest Learning Centers in your Preschool Classroom.
CLICK HERE or the picture to the left to go to the Classroom Design Page!
Choose the Interest Center you are interested in by clicking your choice below. Each page has detailed information on its specific area including what children learn in the learning center, how to set it up, the materials needed and activities that will help your preschool children's growth, development and learning!
The Creative Curriculum is a book I believe every classroom should have! You will learn so much about Interest Learning Centers from it! Click the picture below to see what Amazon has to offer.
This is another book that I refer to often when setting up a space in my program. Again, you can click the picture below to see what Amazon has in stock. They have great prices!
Remember, one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Teaching by planning for your interest learning centers throughout your classroom will keep your children engaged in your preschool lesson plans.