How to Create an Orderly Learning Center by Limiting Numbers
Conflicts in Centers
Many problems come about in the different centers of an early childhood classroom. Many of these conflicts can be prevented with a little planning and observing. Most children's behavior will start to deteriorate if their personal space is violated. This often happens if there are too many children in one particular center. If a child's personal space is violated, the child will start hitting or doing some other aggressive behavior in order to protect their space. If you know how to limit the amount of early childhood children in learning centers, you can prevent some of this aggressive behavior.
You have to know how to limit the amount of early childhood children in learning centers in order to have some control over their behavior. Early childhood children play better in groups of two to four, so only allow that many children into the center at one time. There should be enough centers and activity spaces for the number of children in the classroom. When the center is involved with things like puzzles or watercolor materials, then the number estimated should match exactly the number of materials. Do not count on sharing, except when the supply of materials is large, like with blocks. If there are only four easels in the art center, and only two kids are allowed on each easel, this center should be set to only have eight children participate in it at one time. Make sure the children are aware of this and make sure that they are told to play in another center until one of the spots are open. Make a waiting list if there is a lot of children waiting, as this will avoid conflict and you can always refer to the list to see who's turn is next.
Labeling centers with signs to show how many children are allowed in the center is one way to limit centers. This often will have to be done in the dramatic play areas, because there is no way to limit the amount of materials per child in this center. If there is only a sign displayed, you will have to monitor the center more closely to make sure there is no over crowding. In other centers, like the puzzle center, try placing only the amount of chairs at the table that the center allows for children to participate. The children will see only four chairs at the table, and you can tell them verbally that as soon as one seat is empty they are free to join the puzzle center. This will teach them self-control and give them choices about which center they want to play in.
Observe the Children
Make sure that you observe the children when they go from center to center. You might need to add more materials to the popular centers so more children can get an opportunity to engage in that center. Maybe one of the centers is not so popular. Try adding new and exciting materials to it in order to make it more inviting. If conflict regularly occurs in the same center, consider reorganizing the space.
An Orderly Learning Center Takes Time
It takes time and patience when it comes to knowing how to limit the amount of early childhood children in learning centers. Just remember to supply enough materials, set boundaries, and observe. Once you gain more experience with these limits and how the children respond to them, it will become easier to gain control over the classroom.