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I know it's been a while, but I still haven't finished sharing all the information about centers. In my course "Learning Centers," written by Maxine Cornwell Edwards, there is a plethora of information. I have already shared with you the primary centers that Ms. Edwards recommends for every childcare facility: block center, family center, cooking center, art center, and the quiet center. Today I wanted to write real quickly about secondary centers.
Ms. Cornwell states that not all facilities have space for secondary centers, but with a little creativity they can be incorporated. She says sometimes all it takes is a table and chair with a few props.
As mentioned earlier, the art center is NOT the craft center. So, one center that would be a secondary center is the craft center. The craft center is very similar to the art center except there is a lot more, well, junk. There are egg cartons, popsicle sticks, spools, fabric, etc., you know the list could go on and on. The trick here is not to overpower your center with stuff.
Another way to incorporate secondary centers, I feel, is to add them occasionally. Here is where those lovely "prop boxes" come in. You may have heard of them before. I know I saw a great post about them somewhere--but where?
In my course "Making Learning Fun," by Clairece Feagin, there is a list of prop boxes and materials that could keep you changing centers weekly. A prop box would have a theme, and be filled with items pertaining to that theme. When you want to set up a secondary center, you bring out the box for a while and transform an area for new play and learning.
Prop boxes engage children in mostly different types of dramatic play, but they also incorporate many areas of learning and, of course, fun.
Here are some suggested prop boxes from my course book: Housekeeping, Office, Beach Part, Flower Shop, Bakery, Repair Shop, Veterinarian Box, School Box, Grocery Story, Restaurant, Hair Salon, Sports Shop, Doctor/Nursery Box, Post Office, Police Station, Fire Station, Camping, Dentist, Circus, Nature, Zoo, Carnival. I am sure you can come up with more.
I hope to add at least 4 new prop boxes to our school this year. My idea is for each class to pick a theme, then we will put it out to the parents to help us fill the box. By the end of the time period we have some new boxes.