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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Need Ideas For Separating Centers
Kim 10:15 AM 02-03-2012
I have my playroom as one big open space with certain areas of the room for each center- dramatic play, blocks, library, circle, etc. Problem is that the areas aren't clearly defined with anything separating them so after playtime it's usually one big mess with everything jumbled together from all the areas and the kids go from one area to the next with toys from other areas making clean up time a pain. I'm trying to come up with a way to separate the centers better but I don't have any big shelves to use or lots of money to spend at the moment. Any creative inexpensive ideas for defining/separating the areas better?
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melskids 11:02 AM 02-03-2012
I've put different colored tape on the floor "outlining" each area.

They knew that the blue area was for blocks, the green was the babies area, etc.

It took them awhile, but eventually they got it, and now the tape isnt even there.

I dont get very uptight if they want to move stuff around though. They bring the babies in the library, and "cook" with the blocks in the kitchen. I don;t mind as long as they are using stuff purposefully and not just dragging stuff all over.
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My3cents 11:15 AM 02-03-2012
Originally Posted by Kim:
I have my playroom as one big open space with certain areas of the room for each center- dramatic play, blocks, library, circle, etc. Problem is that the areas aren't clearly defined with anything separating them so after playtime it's usually one big mess with everything jumbled together from all the areas and the kids go from one area to the next with toys from other areas making clean up time a pain. I'm trying to come up with a way to separate the centers better but I don't have any big shelves to use or lots of money to spend at the moment. Any creative inexpensive ideas for defining/separating the areas better?
bump- would like more ideas on this too
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Crystal 02:12 PM 02-03-2012
You could hang sheer fabric from the ceilings. Sheer curtains are fairly inexpensive.

I bought inexpensive bookshelves (paid 10 each) and bolted them together to make them longer to create walls. I do have nicer ones now, but I also still use the cheaper ones and they have lasted for years.

Look on craiglsist in the free section. I see people giving shelves away quite frequently.

Check out garage sales and thrift shops for inexpensive shelving.

You could buy wood fairly inexpensively as well (most places will cut the wood for you for free) and use cinder blocks to build them up.....paint it all and connect the shelving to the cinder blocks with industrial strength velcro.

At one time, I used milk crates, wired together and covered with cloth as shelving, and it actually looked pretty good and worked very well.

I'll try to come up with more ideas for you.
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Kim 06:27 PM 02-03-2012
I think I found a solution! I saw these on discount school supply and just about fell over when I saw the price.
http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...&Brand=&Price=

Dh says he can make me some out of pvc pipes and I can use fabric for the panel part. I think it might work and I can have him make them to the exact sizes I want...for A LOT less money!
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SunnyDay 06:30 PM 02-03-2012
Originally Posted by Kim:
I think I found a solution! I saw these on discount school supply and just about fell over when I saw the price.
http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...&Brand=&Price=

Dh says he can make me some out of pvc pipes and I can use fabric for the panel part. I think it might work and I can have him make them to the exact sizes I want...for A LOT less money!
Please post pictures if he ends up doing this! I am also considering how to divide up a room and I would love to see it.
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daycare 06:37 PM 02-03-2012
oh my that is expensive. I think you should be able to make them cheaper... However, just like crystal, I did the same thing. it gave me the opportunity to also use the shelves to put the supplies on for that area.

To make mine very strong, I used wall brackets and mounted the end of it that was placed along the wall with the brackets and screws. This way they cant tip them over.

I don't use them anymore, I got rid of all of the shelves and now have an open space. I got rid of a lot of stuff, becuse I had several children that were dumpers and I felt this was the best way to resolve it. It worked.

NOw I only do two centers open at a time, plus books (books are always open choice). I create them with tables. The kitchen area is still there with the dramatic play area. I put a sheet over it when it's closed. The children have to ask permission to use certain areas and there can only be two to an area.

I take complete control over the room during centers with limited instructions, letting them decided what they want to do and how. When I see them doing things they are not supposed to, then I will get involved.

Like taking the playdough off the table, I will say...Johnny, where is the playdough supposed to be? Back on the table....

I think that with centers, we have to be a little more on them in the start until they learn how to treat them. I sure don't miss having to get in to each center and clean it up the rest of the way. lol
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Kim 09:41 AM 02-06-2012
Once I rearrange my room to how I like it I'm going to make some of those dividers out of PVC. I want to rearrange a bit and see exactly what size I need them to be first.

I've temporarily put up the large baby gate I have to separate a bit and we had a talk about the centers at circle this morning. They have to clean up the center they are in before they can move to another. So far so good! They just cleaned up while I was making lunch and it was MUCH smoother than it's been in quite a while! It was more organized and less to clean up!
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newtodaycare22 12:07 PM 02-06-2012
science fair boards ) When I taught in kindergarten I used these to separate the computer center from the rest of the room.
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karen 12:20 PM 02-07-2012
The living room is my gross motor room contains things like large wooden blocks, kitchen stuff, little people, cars, dinosaurs, dolls and doll house stuff, mega blocks, ball pool, the reading corner and other stuff. I choose what gets taken out for the kids to play with. I will say o.k. lets take out the bin of little people and all the houses, boats and farms that go with them. We play with that for 15-20 minutes and we clean that up and switch activties. I never allow the kids to randomly take out toys. I do understand that if they are bored with a certain bin of toys it will get cleaned up and another taken out or if they are really into the bin of toys that is out the play time will be extended. The children are engaged in free play I just control the amount of toys that gets taken out. The children also know that we have to clean up one bin of toys before we can play with another. Maybe you could try something like this.
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Tags:art center, centers, dramatic play center, enforcing policies - consistency, playroom, playroom ideas, playroom layout, science/discovery centers
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