Language learning tatees place throughout the classroom. Make certain that each of your learning centers includes printed materials, books, writing tools, and other things that will stimulate talk and enhance verbal and nonverbal communication. Here is a list of materials you might want to include in your centers:

Dramatic-Play Area

  • nonworking cell phones to carry around as children talk to people
  • a pair of identical toys, or several clothing catalogs, to stimulate conversation
  • machines children can use, such as a hand-turned pencil sharpener or a kitchen timer, to foster talk and negotiation
  • a book or two of nursery rhymes to read the "baby" to sleep

Book/Library Area

  • sock and paper-bag puppets to inspire children to act out a story
  • a flannel board and cut-out nurseryrhyme characters to prompt reciting rhymes as children move the characters on the board
  • a small handheld tape recorder, giving children the opportunity to record a story they are reading
  • two copies of the same book for "reading" and talking about together
  • books that tell the same story in different ways, including various versions of "The Three Little Pigs," "The Gingerbread Man," and other familiar tales, for children to discuss

Math/Manipulatives Area

a box of old greeting cards (birthday, holiday, get well), giving children a lot to talk about as they sort them by type

  • beads and shoestrings to make a necklace or to follow a pattern, engaging children in conversation
  • two copies of the same predictable counting books for children to share
  • games, such as dominoes or board games, that involve others and require communication
  • Science Area
  • balance scales and things to weigh, such as pinecones, nuts and bolts, seashells, or large buttons. Children can argue over which weigh the most and why
  • iving things, such as mealworms, for children to observe, and wonder and make predictions about
  • sand and water tables, both indoors and out, with cups, sieves, and other containers for pouring, spilling, and filling, to stimulate discussion among children

Block Area

  • books about building or books related to a theme, such as those about airports, fire stations, or hills and mountains
  • wooden or plastic people and vehicles to stimulate talk and motivate children to expand and extend work with blocks
  • strips of brown paper so children can represent streets and roads, and blue paper for ponds and rivers
  • supplies so children can keep records of their block buildings. They can draw or write about their buildings in a block journal, or they can keep a record with digital photos of their buildings

Art Area

  • a "junk box," with paper tubes, yarn, string, and fabric scraps for children to determine a use for
  • watercolor paints, brushes, and markers. On a rainy day, they will soothe and, at the same time, promote conversation
  • a variety of papers to foster expression

Music Area

  • an assortment of rhythm instruments to use to express feelings and ideas
  • music to listen to for inspiration