How to Setup Permanent and Weekly "Learning Centers"

Hello homeschoolers!  Here I'm going to explain exactly how I set up my homeschool so that I can "rotate" activities and toys weekly.  

First, I’ll discuss the system of “permanent” and “weekly” stations.  Then in my next post, I’ll explain some optional work you can do to organize your toddler’s toys/teaching materials in advance so they can be more easily pulled for these weekly activities.

This image shows from left to right our magnetic white board used for Circle Time, a floor coloring book, a permanent pink

Permanent Learning Centers

 Learning centers are basically a series of bins, shelves and/or physical “stations” that contain certain play items, of a certain category of “learning”, that your toddler can easily reach and use at will.  The permanent stations don’t change based on the week, although they may be refreshed any time you want.  However, I change the “weekly” stations each week or with the change of “theme”.  Permanent stations could include the following:

  • Library / Book Shelf (often called a “literacy center”)
  • Two Comfy Reading Chairs (a soft kid-size chair for your child’s independent reading and a rocker or similar comfy chair for you to read together with your child
  • Imaginative/Dramatic Play” Centers (ie a play kitchen/BBQ, dollhouse, train station, etc)
  • Music Center (a shelf or bin where you keep various instruments available)
  • Misc Toy Shelf (3-4 toys your little one uses all the time or particularly likes)
  • Gross Motor Bin/Basket (balls, bats, toy golf clubs, cones, etc. used for physical games)
  • Sand and Water Table (this is an investment in time / teaching kids to use responsibly, but it is quite engrossing for little ones and a good way to teach orderliness)
  • Circle Time Center (I use a magnetic white board that I push to the side when not in use)
  • Stuffed Animals Bin - Often this just stays out at all times, but if your collection is quite large, pare it down to a few sets and only display one set at a time to reduce clutter.


Weekly Learning Centers

Each week, I “refresh” 10 small bins to keep my toddler's playroom interesting.  Your little one needs variety but it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.  For example, just swapping animal figurines for car figurines one day will take about 30 seconds. You will need:
  1. 1 medium bin or basket to hold your weekly “theme” books for circle time
  2. 8 smallish open top bins (the ones I use are smaller than a foot square and 8” tall)
I label mine as follows (these are Montessori-inspired categories): 1 Practical Life, 2 Art, 3 Sensorial, 1 Math, 1 Language


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