Dr. Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind, in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences points out that school systems often focus on a narrow range of intelligence that involves primarily verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematical skills. While knowledge and skills in these areas are essential for surviving and thriving in the world, he suggests that there are at least six other kinds of intelligences that are important to fuller human development and that almost everyone has available to develop. They include: visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, naturalist and intrapersonal intelligences.
For this reason, we believe that it is important to encourage children to explore and exercise all of their intelligences. Creating a rich, nurturing, and stimulating environment filled with interesting materials, toys, games, and books lay the foundation for healthier, happier, brighter children! Students who have these kinds of experiences know many ways to learn almost anything!
The Interest Centres uses this premise to help the student experience new stimuli and helps the teacher identify strengths and proclivities that students might display towards a certain intelligence. These centres work once a week for a two hour period and students engage in activities of each center for a period of a month. While being there, the teacher observes and records student interest. The last month is based on student choice and inclination.
Bodily/Kinesthetic Interest Centre
Involves physical coordination and dexterity, using fine and gross motor skills, and expressing oneself or learning through physical activities. It may be exercised by playing with blocks and other construction materials, dancing, playing various activities, sports and games, participating in plays or make-believe, and using various kinds of manipulatives to solve problems or to learn.
Verbal/Linguistic Interest Centre
Involves reading, writing, speaking, and conversing in one's own or foreign languages. It may be exercised through reading interesting books, playing word board or card games, listening to recordings, using various kinds of computer technology, and participating in conversation and discussions.
Logical/Mathematical Interest Centre
Involves number and computing skills, recognizing patterns and relationships, timeliness and order, and the ability to solve different kinds of problems through logic. It may be exercised through classifying and sequencing activities, playing number and logic games, and solving various kinds of puzzles.
Musical Interest Centre
Involves understanding and expressing oneself through music and rhythmic movements or dance, or composing, playing, or conducting music. It may be exercised by listening to a variety of recordings, engaging in rhythmic games and activities, and singing, dancing, or playing various instruments.
Spatial/Visual Interest Centre
Involves visual perception of the environment, the ability to create and manipulate mental images, and the orientation of the body in space. It may be developed through experiences in the graphic and plastic arts, sharpening observation skills, solving mazes and other spatial tasks and exercising in imagery and active imagination.
Naturalist Interest Centre
Involves understanding the natural world of plants and animals, noticing their characteristics, and categorizing them. It generally involves keen observation and the ability to classify other things as well. It may be exercised by exploring nature, making collection of objects, studying them and grouping them.