Classroom centers organization and storage are things you want to consider when setting up your centers. I promise it will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. So, what is the most useful way to store your kindergarten or first grade centers?
Find a Classroom Centers Organization and Storage Solution that Works for YOU
The answer to that question depends on your classroom and your resources. Try to use what you have on hand and don’t feel like you need fancy storage solutions.
However, if you are looking to invest in storage solutions that will last you years, I highly recommend anything from IRIS USA, Inc. Not only are their storage solutions pretty, but they are also durable and hold for years!
The two main storage solutions I use for my kindergarten math centers from IRIS are photo storage boxes and scrapbook cases.
Michaels runs sales on these items frequently so I would check there first! They also carry a Simply Tidy line of products that are fairly similar in quality for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re not a fan of those storage choices, read some other ways you could store your centers here.
Decide How You Want to Organize Your Classroom Centers
Once you’ve gathered your bins, boxes, folders, or whichever solution you want to go with, you need to choose which way you will organize your centers.
There are a few ways you can do this, but make sure whichever way you choose makes sense to you.
I would recommend storing your centers by skill or by theme.
Why You Should Organize Your Centers by Skill
I would guess that most teachers store their centers by skill (or unit). It makes a lot of sense and would probably make planning your center rotations a little easier.
When you store centers by skill, you can just pull out the skill(s) you want your students to be practicing and choose your centers accordingly.
I think this method is also a great way to keep you from buying more unnecessary centers. If you are storing your materials by skill, then you can easily see that you already own 43 number sense centers and you don’t need that cute set of kitten clip cards. But you only have 7 graphing centers and could stand to pick up a few more during the next sale on TpT.
If you are storing your materials by theme, it is harder to see at a glance what concepts are covered.
Why You Should Organize Your Centers by Theme
If you’re like me, you love a good theme! Especially in the fall when you can use pumpkins, apples, scarecrows, and all that fun stuff.
But themes don’t have to be seasonal – in fact, non-seasonal themes have more longevity in your classroom so you may want to invest in fun non-seasonal centers if you’re just starting your collection.
That way you can pull centers out at any time of the year. If you use seasonal themes, you may be trying to force a skill your students aren’t ready for (or have already mastered) for the sake of using a cute center.
Some non-seasonal themes would be dinosaurs, space, or cars. In my City Centers System™, you’ll find a mix of seasonal and non-seasonal themes.
For instance in my numbers to 10 centers, you can choose from the dentist, fire station, grocery store, hardware store, library, park, post office, or school themes that can be used any time. Or you can pick up some fall themes like an apple orchard, bakery, candy store, football stadium, and pumpkin patch.
Personally, I like to use a mix of seasonal and non-seasonal themes because the seasonal ones are just so much fun!
So back to organizing… storing your kindergarten centers by theme allows you to pull out centers that are appropriate for a particular time of year.
In September, you could pull out your case of apple orchard centers and decide which ones will match the skill you are working on.
I would recommend storing your centers this way if you already own a ton of thematic centers and prefer to plan your lessons around themes.
Download Free Storage Labels for Your Classroom Centers Organization System
Whether you choose to store by theme or by skill, I’ve got a few storage labels to get you started. Grab them now!
Personally, I like a mix. The truly seasonal themes that I would only use for a small window of time would get stored together by theme. But anything that could be used throughout the whole year would be stored together by skill.
Then when pulling centers, I would look through my relevant seasonal themes first and fill in any gaps with my non-seasonal centers. Which of these classroom centers organization and storage solutions do you think will work for you?
Heather is the author of Creation Castle. She has experience with general education, special education, and ESL students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She specializes in early elementary math and literacy, as well as organization.