March 3, 2021 | Kristen Jordan
Over the course of the past several weeks, Ms. Gluckow has been introducing the children to blocks. They are really loving working with blocks! Children are being introduced gradually to the various sizes and shapes of blocks.
Children are also learning important routines around blocks: how to carry them safely,
where to find each block on the shelves, and how to return them to the shelves. “Stack, sail and dock”!
One of the most important parts of learning to build with blocks is, that as children build they are learning to create SAFE, STRONG, AND BEAUTIFUL structures. (Sounds like an architect’s job, right?) Children learn ways to test to see if a structure is strong: “The Finger Test”.
If they find that the building is not, the children engage in a process of changing their structure to try to make it stronger and more stable. Usually, if it is strong, it is also safe!
The children work on making structures beautiful by lining up the blocks carefully, checking to make sure there are no gaps.
In order to do this work, they must look carefully and adjust the blocks. After all that work of making something beautiful, usually that also means that it is strong!
Why is block play important? Blocks help to engage and develop different kinds of thinkers: linear, spatially oriented, creative, imaginative, and mathematically inclined.
Blocks are great for working on spatial awareness. Moving around and manipulating all of those blocks also helps to build both gross and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. Building with blocks provides children with opportunities to learn elements of science and math, like problem solving, counting, equivalencies, adding and subtracting. Concepts of weight, mass, proportionality and balance are developed through block play.
Ms Gluckow has been engaging the children in explorations and discussions around the mathematical relationships between the blocks by helping them to observe carefully, and by asking them questions like “How many units equal a double?” “A quad?” (Hint: the clue is in the names of the blocks!). This is great mathematical thinking!
Working in blocks helps children to develop literacy and language skills as they describe and discuss what they are building. Children also build social skills such as problem solving and communicating as they work together to create structures.
As the children continue to gain experience with blocks, they will continue to build more complex structures. Keep watching!