How to Get Your Classroom Centers Started - The Autism Helper

How to Get Your Classroom Centers Started

You know I love a good list and now it’s time to get a list together of the classroom centers you need. Now just to be clear – this isn’t a wish list and this isn’t an “if-I-build-it-it-will-come” situation. You know the size of your classroom. You know how much staff you have. It will do you no good to list the 32 centers you want to some how fit into your regularly sized classroom. It’ll just annoy you when you need to cut down the list. So be reasonable. And remember you’ll need more centers than you have groups of kids. And you will need several independent work centers for when you students aren’t with you or an aide.

Centers You May Want in Your Class:

  • Morning meeting/Circle time
  • Direct Instruction
  • Fluency
  • Paraprofessional Run Station (reading, spelling, math, etc.; we call ours Language and the aide works on reading IEP goals in the morning and communication/social skill goals in the afternoon)
  • Science/Social Studies (many schedule might not have time for both science and social studies every day do you can always alternate days)
  • Independent Work (work station, table time, factory, etc. – any name works!; I have 2 independent work stations in my room)
  • Computer
  • Break Time/Play Time
  • Quiet Reading/Book Time
  • Drawing/Art
  • Math Centers
  • Reading Centers
  • Writing Centers
  • Group Time (social groups, games, etc.)
  • Sensory Center
  • Life Skills
  • Cooking (if you don’t cook every day, you could work on cooking related tasks such as looking up recipes, planning cooking, and recipe activities on days you don’t cook)


Which stations you have in your room, depends completely on the group of students you have had. Throughout my years of teaching I have had all of these stations in my classroom at different times. It depends on the level and needs of your student, staffing, and grade level.

Once you have your list...

You can head on over the next step… Classroom Structure. Coming next week!

Sasha Long
Latest posts by Sasha Long (see all)


  1. Do you time your centers or do the kiddos rotate on their own?

  2. It’s timed but I ‘start’ the rotation. So when I see that it is time, I start to have kids check their schedule. But in a systematic way, not the mass chaos of everyone checking the schedule at once haha!

  3. HI Sasha, I have three students, two of which will not complete most of the tasks at my stations without help. I have one assistant, which needs to stay with one of my students at all times for safety. If I want to be able to use station time to work on their IEP goals, do you have any ideas to increase their independence or ideas for tasks that are very simple?
    I so appreciate your website, you are awesome!!

  4. Great question. You could have the other student (that isn’t with you or the aide) in break time, accessing a reinforcer, on the computer/ipad, or nearby you doing some type of independent activity. Maybe while you are working with the one-on-one student the assistant can work with the other two on “independent work”? Many students will need to be taught to work independently and it gets tricky to work this into your schedule. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi there. I am an ECD practioner working with 5 to 6 year olds. I want to use centers in my classroom. Do you have any advise for me on where to start and how to set them up?


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