The Purpose of Centers in the Classroom
By Kathryn Vernon, FCS Kindergarten Teacher
There are many benefits to running centers/small groups in a classroom. During learning centers, students work in groups- sometimes they may be working together as a team, and sometimes they may be working individually in the group. Learning centers are student-centered and are engaging activities. In my classroom, I have students work on things we have been learning in class that week, as well as things we have recently covered. My small groups are fluid and they change based off the needs of the learner. These small groups offer a learning environment that provides differentiation for students, as well as a time for the teacher to provide scaffolding to the students. It gives students a chance to practice what they have been learning in a more concrete way and they develop a conceptual understanding of what they are learning. They are using their hands to learn and are being interactive. Students find themselves having fun with learning, even in the subjects that they struggle with. Almost every day in my classroom, I will have at least one student ask what we are doing in centers that day, and will ask me how much longer until center time. Students enjoy interacting and using manipulatives and learning tools.
It gives students a chance to practice what they have been learning in a more concrete way and they develop a conceptual understanding of what they are learning.
This is when higher order thinking comes into play and they will retain their knowledge longer. It also develops their social and cognitive skills as they learn to work together, and even learn from one another. This is the place where teachers can see their student’s strengths and weaknesses and give them more individualized feedback. When I see that students may need help in a certain area, small groups give me that opportunity to provide more scaffolding to them. Relationships among students grow as they work together and alongside one another. The relationship with the teacher also grows as the teacher works alongside them and engages with them. Small groups is the place where a class grows together, both academically and socially.
FCS Kindergarten Teacher