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What Are the Advantages of Incorporating Learning Centers Into Early Childhood Programs, and How Do They Support Diverse Learning Styles and Levels?

Amber Tankersley, PhD

October 1, 2023

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Question

What are the advantages of incorporating learning centers into early childhood programs, and how do they support diverse learning styles and levels?

Answer

Learning centers offer numerous advantages for early childhood programs, catering to various learning styles and levels. These centers provide an organized way to facilitate learning, despite the misconception that they simplify the teacher's role. Although center setup requires planning, the structure enhances opportunities for children's engagement and skill development.

Play-based learning is promoted through centers, allowing children to explore, experiment, and discover concepts and skills in an engaging manner. Learning centers accommodate different learning domains simultaneously, promoting holistic development. They create an environment where diverse learners can thrive, with materials and activities adapted to varying skill levels. For instance, centers can challenge advanced learners and support those still developing certain skills.

Additionally, learning centers foster independence and decision-making. Children choose where to engage and how to explore, cultivating self-confidence and autonomy. Social-emotional growth is nurtured as children navigate their choices and collaborate with peers in shared spaces. Learning centers also present opportunities for integrated learning, where skills are interconnected across centers, providing a holistic learning experience.

Ultimately, learning centers serve as dynamic tools for educators to address the unique needs of their students, promoting active engagement, diverse skill development, and a rich exploration of concepts through play.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course Designing Effective Learning Centers for Young Childrenpresented by Amber Tankersley, PhD.


amber tankersley

Amber Tankersley, PhD

Amber Tankersley is a professor in child development within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary/early childhood education, a master's degree in elementary education, and a PhD in curriculum and instruction. She has worked in the field of early childhood for over 25 years as a preschool teacher, university child care center director, university instructor/professor and director of a NAEYC accredited preschool lab. She often presents at workshops/conferences on the topic of early childhood curriculum and the importance of play. She teaches courses such as early childhood curriculum, interacting with children, and parent/professional relationships. 


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