Being Intentional with Blocks
This new series of Early Childhood Hub blogs 2019, will focus on the concept and intentionality of permanent learning areas in early childhood environments.
The environments in Early Childhood Services should be flexible, consistently safe and inclusive and educators should plan for the environment in their regular intentional teaching and planning cycles. Within flexible environments, there will also be areas intentionally set up in your spaces known as permanent learning areas with the potential to be modified depending on the knowledge, ideas and interests of the group. A block area could be considered to be a permanent learning area.
Blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used in construction, where children have opportunities to measure, build, stack, shape, classify and categorise. Children focus, persevere, concentrate, imagine, practise eye–hand coordination and experience the pleasure of repetition and achievement at the end. Blocks have the potential for children to develop team working skills, respectful relationships and the skill of learning to give and take. Children may can also experience frustration and anger and conflict while researching the properties and potentials of blocks. These are not always emotions to avoid in early childhood settings, as they can be viewed as an opportunity to experience and learn appropriate problem-solving skills’ (O’Neill, 2017).
Intentional teaching objectives for children’s learning using blocks:
- For the children to engage in and contribute to shared play experiences
- For the children to experience the mathematical skills of measuring, building, stacking, balancing and classifying
- For the children to develop team working skills and respectful relationships through negotiation and working together
- For the children to initiate and join in play
- For the children to persist when faced with challenges and when first attempts are not successful
- For the children to celebrate and share their contributions and achievements with others.
Early Childhood Hub advocates that every child in early childhood services should have access to blocks and highly recommends Pre-School Equipment (PSE) as your supplier of these resources. Their blocks are affordable and of high quality. This resource is an investment that will last for years. Check them out: https://preschoolequipment.com.au/product-category/wooden-blocks/