1 Define the space. Use throw rugs, bookcases, and curtains to help children contain their play within the center.

2 Take a room tour. Start the year by taking a few children at a time on a quick tour of the centers. Show them where materials are and how to put them away.

3 Keep materials accessible. Put current materials for each center in well-defined containers and marked shelves at children's eye level.

4 Store a few teacher materials in each center. It takes too much time to have to search for your own materials. Place your materials on a high shelf in each area.

5 Stock centers sparingly. It is easier for children to manage materials if there are just a few items there. As children learn how to easily use and put materials away, ask them to suggest what new items they would like to add to the centers.

6 Set up portable centers. Use plastic tubs or bins to create portable centers children can take to a private area to work and play.

7 Make a cooperative center rules chart. At a group time, encourage children to suggest rules for working/playing in learning centers. If children are having difficulty, suggest issues such as sharing materials, respecting each other's work, and putting materials away.

8 Display children's work. Use bulletin boards, shelf backs, cardboard boxes or room dividers as a place to show children what others have done in the center.

9 Set up a works-in-progress shelf. Sometimes children don't have enough time to complete a project in a center. Create a "safe place" where children can store ongoing projects.

10 Create a take-home box. Set out a box near the door for children to place their finished projects for take-home at the end of the day.