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Learning Centres PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Dreams Unlimited takes advantage of the growing literature that supports "Learning Centres" as the most powerful technique in aiding in your child's growth and development.

Your child will call theses things "toys" and say that they had a great time playing at the Centre but you'll know that the way the Centre is organized is to meet the developmental needs of your child and that your child is simply telling you they have found this method of learning as enjoyable.

What are the instructional benefits of Learning Centre model?
opportunities for students to explore, discover, create, practice and apply skills
promotes critical and creative thinking skills
develop independent learning strategies
cooperative learning
addresses different learning styles when a variety of activities are available for student choice
differentiated instruction if activities vary by complexity and take into account different levels of ability/readiness
allows the teacher opportunities for flexible grouping and varied activities such as individual conferencing and guided reading groups
promotes independent learning
provides opportunities for students to take responsibility for their learning and demonstrating what they have learned

The following are the learning centres located at Dreams Unlimited:



Science is an important and integral part of a young child's learning experience. Children are naturally inquisitive about their environment and explore in a very hands-on fashion. Since science takes place in familiar, everyday occurrences, it seems natural to include scientific concepts in an age appropriate way in the early childhood curriculum.

In 1924, Caroline Pratt, an early pioneer of science education for young children, taught science through block play. She illustrated how gravity, weight, balance, trial and error, the properties of matter and the interaction of force took place during this everyday childhood experience. Our goal as teachers is to capitalize on these daily play occurrences by incorporating well planned questions and activities that encourage scientific thinking.

Dreams Unlimited's program focuses on three process skills - observation, classification, and communication. The following science ideas can be taught to preschoolers and can be spiraled as needed.

A good early childhood science program develops the science process skills of observation, classification, and communication. Young children, because of their innate curiosity eagerly embrace all types of science activities. We have found the easiest way to incorporate science into the early childhood environment was to "find" the science in the activities we were already doing. A lesson about "me" can include making pasta skeletons with the children's pictures as the head. Color mixing, exploring which materials dissolve in water, comparing similarities and difference in objects, and cooking are all science activities.


There are two categories of standards: thinking math standards and content math standards. The thinking standards focus on the nature of mathematical reasoning, while the content standards are specific math topics.  The four thinking math standards are problem solving, communication, reasoning, and connections. The content math standards are estimation, number sense, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, statistics and probability, fractions and decimals, and patterns and relationships.


Info to be online in the future.

Language / Writing

Info to be online in the future.


Research shows that the size of a young child's vocabulary is a strong predictor of reading and academic ability. A study by the National Research Council showed that children with large vocabularies tend to be the most proficient readers and the best students. 

Have a look at Emergent Literacy:



Info to be online in the future.

Fine Motor

Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements which occur e.g., in the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. In application to motor skills of hands (and fingers) the term dexterity is commonly used.  It is critical to understand the development of children's fine motor skills in order to understand the reasoning behind why they complete certain tasks in a certain way. For example, it is important to understand the development of fine motor skills when a paper is handed in by a child in grade one and the writing is large, malformed, with little evidence of control of the pencil. If the teacher were to know the stages that children go through to develop these skills, then he may be more considerate and provide the child with appropriate adaptations in order to help him improve his writing skills.  Also, as children refine their motor skills, they are able to communicate by written expression. Starting off with scribbling and moving on to printing and writing.

Gross Motor

The term gross motor skills refers to the abilities usually acquired during infancy and early childhood as part of a child's motor development. By the time they reach two years of age, almost all children are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These skills are built upon, improved and better controlled throughout early childhood, and continue in refinement throughout most of the individual's years of development into adulthood.  These gross movements come from large muscle groups and whole body movement.

Dramatic Play

Play helps children weave together all the elements of life as they experience it. It allows them to digest life and make it their own. It is an outlet for the fullness of their creativity, and it is an absolutely critical part of their childhood. With creative play, children blossom and flourish.  In the 1970s and 80s, Israeli psychologist Sara Smilansky conducted groundbreaking research on the role of dramatic play and sociodramatic play in cognitive and socioemotional development. She defines dramatic play as having four elements: the child undertakes a make-believe role; the child uses make-believe to transform objects into things necessary for the play; verbal descriptions or exclamations are used at times in place of actions or situations; and the play scenarios last at least ten minutes. In socio-dramatic play these four elements are present plus two more: at least two players interact within the play scene, and there is some verbal communication involved with the play.


Toys that require a child to manipulate it with his fingers and hands can be categorized as a manipulative. Manipulatives involve coordinating the eye to what the hands are needed to do. They stimulate fine motor development because they require controlled use of hand and finger muscles. Some manipulative toys, such as puzzles, are self-correcting, fitting together in only one specific way. These types of toys only fit together one way and allow children to work until they achieve success.  Play dough is a manipulative that can help strengthen a child's fine motor skills.

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