Eulee - the member who asked this question - selected this as the best answer posted by another Education.com member.
from a fellow member
Are you referring to a method in place at a particular school? It sounds like the Learning Center you are discussing is probably a strategy for rotating the kids through different learning environments and topics by moving them to different classrooms and teachers. Sometimes schools use class rotations to prevent kids from getting too bored, and to mix up the combinations of teachers and students.
There are two rotation methods at my son’s school and they both have its significance.
1. A teacher is assigned to teach a specific subject. For example, if a teacher is assigned to teach math, then each day when there is math curriculum then different classrooms of the same grade level to that teacher to learn math.
Significance: Each subject the children learn is taught by an expert in that subject. There would be a teacher for art, PE, math, science, etc.
2. The children are first tested and then divided into groups based on their test scores and level. The children of the same level are put together. After the children are categorize into their group level, rotation happen in two ways. One way is the teacher present the lesson in the small group and have the other group work on something else. The different groups will rotate within their classrooms throughout the day. Another way is the same level children are joined together by other classrooms and they rotate. For example, teacher A will teach level 1; Teacher B will teach level 2, etc.
Significance: The children get to be in a group with other children who are academically and cognitively at the same level as they are in the subject matter.
In general rotations are a good method of teaching as both teachers and students benefit from them.
In my experience, learning centers usually take place while the teacher works with a small group. Most of the time it's during language arts and more specifically with reading. The teacher might have different learning centers set up around a theme or topic they are discussing, their might by a science or social studies center, an art center, something with language arts and maybe even math. (It's a good opportunity to squeeze in some extra practice) It can serve several purposes. #1 and most importantly, it gives the teacher the opportunity to read with a small group and focus on skills that particular group needs reinforcement in. #2 the children learn to work independently with minimal guidance (after an explanation of what each center requires of them). #3 The children work in groups and get used to relying on each other and share information. And finally, like I said before, it's an opportunity to work on skills just learned or to spiral back to skills that were learned some time back and need to be retouched.