Using Learning Centers in Child Care

Learning centers in an ECE program

Learning centers are a purposeful way of dividing up your classroom into different subject/learning areas. The location of each learning center, placement of any furnishings or equipment, and easily available materials give a clear message to the child about what is to take place in that area.

Planning for Learning Centers

Establishing the centers requires some initial planning, work, and possible expense, but once they are established they save time and money. For example, you don’t want to place the …

The Block Center in Child Care


Unit blocks on blue rug

Block play is a valuable learning tool for young children of all ages. By setting aside an area for block play within the child care space, child care providers are creating an area for imaginative cooperative play. Children playing with blocks are practicing a wide variety of developmental skills, including manipulating objects, creating structures, and working together.

Block Play Supports Children’s Development

Block play enhances young children’s development across several different domains. Look for the following skills as children interact …

Different Types of Blocks for Your Child Care Classroom

Unit blocks

Blocks should be a staple material in almost every child care classroom. With a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures to choose from, blocks can provide hours of fun on their own, even before adding manipulatives and other items to them. Blocks are a great way for children to strengthen gross and fine motor skills, practice science concepts such as weight and balance, and work together to create increasingly complex structures.

How Many Blocks Are Needed?

As a general …

Creating Safe and Appropriate Napping Areas in Child Care

Napping is an important routine in child care. Most children in infant, toddler, and preschool programs will take regular naps while they are in child care. Setting up comfortable, predictable spaces for napping helps children relax and get the rest they need. The needs of napping children are different depending on age. Child care providers should set up napping areas to best meet the needs of the children in the classroom, based on the layout of the child care space. …

Creating Safe and Appropriate Diapering, Toileting, and Hand Washing Areas in Child Care

Diapering, toileting, and hand washing are important routines in child care, and those areas of the child care classroom are important parts of children’s experience in child care. With thoughtful planning, child care providers can set up an area to handle these important caregiving routines while also significantly reducing the spread of germs and disease.

Diapering table in infant room

The Diapering Area

Diapering is a regular, everyday occurrence in infant and toddler classrooms. It is important to set up a diapering area that is …

Organizing Your Child Care Storage Areas

Child care toy closet

Safe, accessible storage areas can be a valuable resource in the child care environment. Storage enables child care providers to rotate materials based on the developmental needs and interests of the children. A storage area makes it possible to create collections of materials and props around specific themes and to build those themes into the curriculum at appropriate times during the year. Storage also keeps children safe by ensuring that dangerous or hazardous materials are inaccessible.

Storage Location Options

The …