Creating Learning Centers and Increasing Parental Involvement

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Creating Learning Centers and Increasing Parental Involvement Laura Chapman March 9, 2009 Creating Learning Centers Children learn best when actively engaged in hands-on experiences that have personal relevance. High quality early childhood programs support the way children learn best by providing classrooms that are organized in learning centers rich with hands-on materials. Learning centers allow children to make choices about their activities, which encourages a developing sense of independence and an intrinsic motivation to learn (Pattillo, 1992, p 12). According to early childhood theorist Lev Vygotsky, children use language to organize their thinking (Follari, 2007, p 38). Language development is encouraged by learning centers as children verbalize their activities and interact with peers. Learning centers help teachers follow developmentally appropriate practice by providing materials which children can use according to their individual development (Pattillo, 1992, pp 12-13 ). Teachers must guide the learning process, using scaffolding techniques to keep children actively engaged. Vygotsky's theory of the zone of proximal development posits that learning occurs only when children are supported in appropriately challenging activities (Follari, 2007, pp 39-40). Teachers must also observe and make assessments regularly, modifying the environment as needed to enhance integrated development of all domains. The theme “All About Me” could be used to create such learning centers. The teacher will introduce this theme by reading “This is Me” by Richard Scarry, in which Arthur Pig learns about parts of his body, and what he can do with them. Reading to children is the catalyst for language development. When children are read to, they see that reading is valuable. Providing a book center with additional selections on the theme supports children's emerging

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