After completing the college class, Introduction to early childhood in 2002, I was inspired to make changes to my preschool environment in my home.
In fact, I made majored changes to my preschool program and changed the name of my business. The former name of my daycare was, Morgan Daycare and in 2001 I decided to change the name to Learning Days.
I was also inspired to create this post, because many home providers have submitted the question, ” How do I set-up a preschool environment in my home daycare.”
Setting up centers or play areas in my home daycare was the start of a new experience for the preschoolers in my program. Moreover, after I set-up a quality preschool environment, I noticed that parents would refer to my program as a ” school” instead of daycare.
In this post I am going to share with you the centers that I created for the children in my home, what I used to set-up the centers and the materials that was added to each area. Please do not feel as if you must go out and spend thousands of dollars to create a preschool classroom. In fact, you may already have what you need. Just keep this in mind, “It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with what you have.
The Art Center
You will need a shelf that is child height that includes the following items: construction paper, paint, crayons, scissors, markers, white paper, yarn, scraps, glue, paint smocks or old shirts, play doh and newspaper/magazines for cutting.
The science area could be set-up on a table, a shelf or even in crate. The following items are great to add to the science center: rocks, leaves, soil, magnifying glass, feathers, tree branches, plant to water, photos of the weather, etc.
This is the most popular center among children. You will need a shelf or Cubby drawers for this area. Add the following items to your dramatic play area to assure an enriching experience: Dress up clothes, dress up shoes, dolls, play food or real food boxes, canned goods, table, small chairs, telephone, cook books, aprons, used kitchen play set, etc. Many items that you add to the dramatic play area are already in your home or you can pick-up at a garage sale.
Be sure to make this a cozy quiet place for kids to look at books and relax. You will need a book shelf or use crates to display books. Add puppets, an area rug, bean bags and pillows.
Math or Manipulative
This center is a must to assure that children develop fine motor and math skills. You will need a table or shelf. In this area, add a few puzzles, table toys, lacing toys, table blocks, peg boards, home-made games, board games,etc.
The block area also is a very popular center in the preschool world. You will need a shelf to display wooden, plastic and cardboard blocks. Add a run in front of the shelf. You may want to add cars, toy people, road signs, trucks to enhance the block play.
This is one of my favorite center, because it gets messy, lol! You can go out and buy a sensory table at your local walmart or use two dish pails to fill with water or sand. After you fill the table with water or sand, be sure to add large bowls, spoons and cups to encourage the children to scoop, dig, pour and measure. If you choose to use dish pails, simply place them on a child size table and explore the water or the sand.
I recommend that you add one center at a time and introduce each center, by talking about it with the preschoolers at group time. You must encourage the children to help you to keep the centers organized by cleaning up before moving on to another center. Be sure to plan to rotate and add new materials to each center every other week to prevent the children from getting bored with the materials.
If you are concerned about space, only set-up 3-5 center choices at a time and rotate the centers that are available throughout the day.
Moreover, it is vital that you define each center, by adding a label on the wall near the play area or on the shelf/table. Download signs, here.
I look forward to hearing your feedback about this blog post and your progress with setting-up your centers in your home daycare!