Using Centers to Differentiate in Kindergarten and First Grade

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Using differentiation centers in kindergarten and first grade can be a valuable asset to the overall classroom climate for both children and teachers. Gone are the days of desks placed in rows facing the teacher’s desk with a chalkboard behind it. Many studies have proven that learning centers are not just effective at these grade levels but in higher ones as well.

The overall purpose of learning centers is to provide hands-on activities to capture and hold the interest of students as lessons concepts are reinforced in a more relaxed atmosphere. Learning center composition based on mixed group abilities of children not only tends to increase the individual child’s ability to focus on a task but provides a chance for community service development as most children at this age are eager to help others to achieve what they have mastered.

The basic centers needed at this educational level are for reading, writing and math.
The centers should include worksheets and other activities in a game-style format designed to reinforce and enrich concepts presented during whole class learning time.
It is important to make sure children are required to complete at least one or two worksheets in addition to game-style activities.

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