Friday, September 21, 2012

Visually Closing Centers

Being a special needs preschool classroom, we have many different areas and toys out and readily available for the students.  However at times, this can be overwhelming and distracting.  We must train our students when they can play in certain areas.  

        I have done this by hanging towels with heavy-duty Velcro along our toy shelves.  I then ironed on a fabric paper stop sign that says “This center is closed.”  These towels are easily rolled up over the shelf when the center is open.  

Closed Library Center
TIP:  Fabric paper can be purchased at any office store and 
printed on with an inkjet printer.

This strategy works amazingly for both our art & library centers which use the front and back of the same shelving unit.  We can have both centers closed with the over-sized bath towel down, one center closed and one open by flipping the towel up and over one side of the shelf or we can have both centers open by rolling the towel up and velcroing it together with a strip of Velcro glued under the shelf’s top.

Open Art Center
This station is located on the backside of the library center.
The towels create a partition between the two centers.

Open Library Center
Towels are easily rolled up over the shelf when the center is open.

***Big thanks to my colleagues, Dixie Teeter & Teri Berkgen, for brainstorming this idea with me.  You ladies rock!  Thank you!


  1. This is a terrific tip! LOVE using towels, and the pin on stop!

  2. Thanks for your opinion! Best wishes with your Towel creations:)

  3. I wish our school could do this, but our fire codes won't allow regular towels. Great idea!

  4. Right now I just throw sheets over the shelves, but what I love about this is that they roll right up! Right now someone has to go around and collect all of the sheets!

    Creating & Teaching

    1. Glad you like it Erin! I used sheets the first few years too:)

  5. I have made "curtains" with Velcro on the top to visually close cubbies/bookcases that are not in use/closed. I teach this as one of my procedures t the beginning of the year as well as when new students enroll!