Laura J. Colker responded to a selection of questions and comments January 7–11, 2013. Read the questions and her responses below!
The impact of room arrangement extends far beyond getting the classroom ready for children. It's useful to think of this task as setting the stage for all that goes on as the children play and learn together, with the teacher as their guide and facilitator. Your choice of learning centers, their layout, and the way you stock them reflect the curriculum and what children will do and learn. Children pick up messages from the room arrangement. In a well-stocked, intentionally designed learning environment, children are likely to feel safe and challenged to explore and learn.
Each issue of Teaching Young Children/Tesores y Colores, NAEYC's magazine for preschool educators, has included a feature that focuses on learning centers. The first 10 features illustrated a single learning center, focusing on what children learn, how to involve families, and how to stretch the budget. We are now revising these 10 centers to suggest ways to enhance the center. For example, a teacher might enhance the art center by creating a place for weaving or enhance the outdoors with a place for woodworking.
I look forward to exploring this topic with you during this Q&A. Please submit your questions about how to make learning centers work for you—and most importantly the children in your program. I look forward to hearing your ideas and
strategies, and problem solving with you and other preschool educators.
— Laura J. Colker