School – an educational centre. A place to emphasize the holistic development of the child. However, many times, more emphasis is given to academic development at the expense of emotional, social, and physical development and we often forget how important these are. Classroom learning centres, provided that you implement them right, can be a perfect place to promote these areas of growth in young children.
Learning centres are areas within the classroom where students learn about specific subjects by playing and engaging in activities. Even cognitive development is achieved through child-initiated exploration and discovery. Children need specific strategies and skills, such as making decisions, carrying out plans, cooperating and sharing with others, and problem-solving.
Learning centres help build literacy skills and content mastery with the help of differentiated instructions. Learning centres allow students to use and apply academic concepts to expand their understanding. They also encourage participation and collaboration. Having a choice for students at each activity centre allows for more engagement. They will move towards self-regulated learning.
Learning and activity centres in each classroom would help build up a positive and productive learning environment in the classroom. Students would also feel a sense of belonging because of more camaraderie in small groups and increased student-student positive relationships. In case, the educator has planned the classroom management well by displaying rules at each activity centre, limiting the time to 10-15 mins at each centre, orienting the students for transitions, and each centre.
Using homogeneous groupings right after finishing with the teaching of a topic would be quite useful for the educators to see that each group of students has understood what is being taught and if there are any confusions, they can solve and explain them in groups. This also helps in developing a sense of confidence in students.
So when the teacher is dealing with one group, the other groups would have the same worksheet, which will have various difficulty levels of problems that the students are solving. This helps the teacher isolate the group of students who have difficulty understanding the concept or the subject taught. The teacher will be mindful of spending more time with such groups and spend less time with groups that are already able to follow the worksheet.
To sum up, learning centres allow children to develop not just intellectually but in a wholesome manner. Learning and activity centres are an important part of a balanced classroom teaching and curriculum.
About the author: Siddharth Rajgarhia, Chief Learner-Director, Delhi Public School, Nashik, Varanasi & Lava Nagpur