Each classroom is arranged into a variety of activity centers. The children independently choose from among the centers during free choice and activity time. The centers that are available to the children may vary from day to day. Sometimes the centers are open to the children to explore freely. Other times a teacher may coordinate an activity within a center.
The children choose from a variety of materials and tools
to make their artistic creations. Items available may include easels and paint, markers, scissors, paper, glue,
tape, glitter, feathers, stickers, pipe cleaners, and wood.
A variety of blocks are rotated through the block center throughout the year. These may include soft blocks, wood blocks, legos, cardboard bricks, and tree blocks. Other play items such as animals, tools, and vehicles are frequently added to the block center for more elaborate creations.
Each program has between 1-4 computers available to the children for use. The Children's School has a large software library from which the teachers choose software that is appropriate for the developmental needs of their children.
Dramatic Play Center
While sometimes referred to as a housekeeping center, the dramatic play center changes frequently depending on the current theme. Sometimes the center materials are collected by the teachers, other times they are created by the children. Past centers have included a doctor's office, space station, bear's den, fire station, veternarian's office, beauty shop, grocery store, and castle.
The library center is a quiet area within the classroom for the children to read books. The Children's School has a library with over 2800 titles. Teachers and children choose books to place in the library. Often, books that have been made by the children are also available for reading. The listening center is an area for children to listen to a recorded story while following along in a book.
At the manipulative center, the children will find a variety of items designed to promote the development of fine motor and cognitive skills. These include puzzles, playdough, peg boards, geoboards, links, gears, and beads and laces, just to name a few. The manipulatives available to the children are rotated on a regular basis.
The science center frequently displays real objects for the children to touch and explore with tools such as magnifying glasses, tweezers, eye droppers, and rulers. Objects have included, leaves, acorns, seashells, bones, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Tadpoles, frogs, fish, and butterflies are frequently available to observe.
The children can choose from a number of sensory tables such as the water table, sand table, and light table. Other tables and bins filled with items such as pasta, feathers, rice, or styrofoam are sometimes available. Various tools are included with the tables for scooping, pouring, shaking, sifting, filling, and measuring the materials.
In the writing center, the children create their own writings and illustrations using paper, pencils, markers, staplers, tape, scissors, glue, and stickers. The children are encouraged to copy letters and words or use invented spelling.