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How to Take Turns Independently with Center Sign-Ups


Center management in a Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom can be challenging. I run free-flowing centers in my room, which has cut the management in half! But I still ran into the issue of overcrowded centers. I wanted to find a system that would build independence while my students learn how to take turns with center sign-ups. Now my students take turns during center time without additional intervention from me!

*For more hands-on, fun with centers grab our Pre-K & Kindergarten Centers by Skill BUNDLE!

Build independence and social skills while also learning how to take turns with this FREE Taking Turns Activity Sign-Up guide and printable sign-up sheet!

How to Take Turns Independently with Center Sign-Ups

In Pre-K and Kindergarten, social skills are just as important for students to learn as academic skills. Of course, reading, writing, and math are crucial pieces to the early learning, but so are independence, problem solving, and taking turns.

I want my students to be educated in more than just math and literacy. By the time they leave my classroom, I want my students to be self-directed and responsible as well. Training students to be independent at a young age is crucial and takes a ton of practice. But trust me, it’s worth it. You don’t want students to need you every moment of the day.

Sensory bins are more fun and more effective with less students at each center.

Building Independence and Social Emotional Skills

Building independence is one of the reasons I prefer to use free-flowing centers in my classroom. But even with this model, you run into the problem of overcrowded centers and activities.

I don’t limit the number of students in a center, but we do often discuss how sometimes an activity is more fun when it’s not super crowded. Other times, the materials limit the number of people that can successfully complete each center (there are only 4 game pieces, etc).

As always, I think the simpler the solution, the better! So I introduced center sign-ups and we began practicing the very important skill of how to take turns.

Just grab a clipboard, sheet of paper, and a pencil to create a center sign-up sheet for taking turns.

If a student wants to use the center when there are too many people, they simply write their name on the piece of paper. When the student using it is finished, they cross their name off of the list and go to get the next person on the list to play!

Of course this does not just happen by itself. We model how to take turns over and over; especially at the beginning of the year.

Center sign-up sheets are especially helpful at popular centers like this ice cream sensory bin.

Supplies Needed

The best part about this centers management solution is that you don’t need a lot of supplies. Grab a clipboard (everything seems more official with a clipboard), a piece of paper, and a pencil, and you have a center sign-up sheet ready to go!

Grab this free Center Sign-Up sheet to add a little color and fun to your centers.

Or, you can grab this printable center sign-up sheet! Not only does it add a little cuteness to your sign-up, you can print it out on card stock and laminate it so you can use it over and over. Just have your students use a dry erase marker.

Print and store the Taking Turns Activity Sign-Up Guide for quick access at your fingertips.

Grab Your FREE Copy

Are you ready to get your FREE printable copy of the Taking Turns Activity Sign-Up Guide and your FREE Center Sign-Up Sheet? Grab these freebies by clicking the large, yellow download button below! Click Here to Download Your Printable


2 Responses

  1. Hello! I am exploring the idea of the free flowing centers. Do you still use the sign ups? What do you do if children do not move on to other centers and kids who signed up didn’t get a chance?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      You will LOVE free-flowing centers! We use the sign up sheets mainly for super popular play centers or sensory bins that truly have a limited number of space available. We don’t limit the number of students at centers normally, so for the majority of the time, it won’t be needed during math and literacy centers. For the times you are using the sign up sheet, you can add in a timer for students to clean up and get the next student when it goes off, but students won’t necessarily get a chance on the day they sign up, and that’s ok! We keep going down the list the next day too. If you are needing some help with free flowing centers, be sure to hop on our P.L.A.Y. Course waitlist!

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