Saturday, August 25, 2012

learning center organization

Ready or not, here it comes!  This summer has been an amazing time to step back a bit, go through closets, cupboards, arrange, re-arrange, clean... I'm feeling much more ready for this school year than I have in past years.  

However, with the way our enrollment usually goes there is only so much you can do to get prepared.  Inevitably there are always new students who enroll at the last minute and a new to-do list grows to meet those new needs.  If there's anything I've learned from teaching preschool it's to be FLEXIBLE - in the last 10 years I've gone from (metaphorically speaking) barely being able to touch my toes to doing the full splits!

With the new year always comes new ways of organizing things.  Our program is based in our church facility so we share space with our Children's Ministry.  Sharing space can be kind of a monster, especially when you don't share many items in the room itself.  We have to clean up most of our preschool belongings weekly to store them away for the weekend and then set up again on Monday morning before school begins.   Because of this process, I'm always thinking of ways to make set-up and tear down efficient.

Learning Center Drawers
I believe this idea was inspired by The Mailbox.   (You can sign-up for weekly ideas to be sent to your inbox from The here.)  

To help corral my weekly learning centers I decided to buy two sets of plastic drawers.  The drawer units fit in one of my cupboards and the drawers themselves are removable.    Each drawer is labeled with the center theme (Language, Math, Art, etc.).  To create the labels I used Publisher's Word Art function, printed them out, cut them to fit, and used contact paper to stick them on.  
I was debating whether or not to decoupage the drawers (I've seen some cute ideas on Pinterest) but I decided I wouldn't get too fancy just in case I decided this organizational tool doesn't work for me.  

I'm planning on filling up the drawers on Friday with the center supplies for the following week then taking them out on Monday to place in a center area.  The drawer should provide an easy way to corral center supplies and be easy to get out of the way when we need table space for other activities.  I'm also hoping that they will work well when we have a substitute - they will have activities at their fingertips!

Are you ready for your school year?  Do you have any fabulous new organizational ideas you're implementing? 

Miss Eileen

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