- A block center should have a border.
- Blocks should be contained on marked shelves.
- Block centers should include other play materials such as, wheel toys, farm animals, people, etc.
- Block centers sometimes go outside.
- The center should not be in the main line of traffic.
- The center should include, unit blocks, hollow blocks, shaped blocks, cube blocks, cardboard blocks, bristle blocks, or any other geometric shape that can be used to construct.
- Teachers recognize the stages of play.
I thought it important to let the teachers know the stages of play--as I learned something here:
Stage 1--blocks come off the shelf, get spread on the floor, big mess! This helps the child see what's available and become acquainted with the materials. "Big Mess is play."
Stage 2--blocks are put in rows.
Stage 3--stacking, bridging and full-fledged construction.
So how do I measure up? Block center has a border, check; Blocks located on shelves-no check, lots of blocks, lots of containers; Block center contains other materials, check; Block center goes outside--no check--actually never thought about it before, but not an easy task as our center is on the second floor; Not in the main line of traffic--so/so check--not in the middle of the room!; Different types of blocks, check--don't have all of them, but a large majority; Recognizing stages of play, check NOW that I know.
Finally, the author suggest two types of blocks which are very valuable. First you have the unit blocks. These are blocks that are wooden blocks with different shapes and sizes. Unit blocks are found in most centers. The writer suggest 400 blocks for a total of 8 children playing--I don't think I have that many.
The other type of block suggestead by Sally Cartwright is extremely fun for the children and works large motor skills immensely, large blocks--I have none of these. These are "large hollow blocks, boards, packing boxes, often with small ladders and saw horses, designed to fit together for safe building, made of wood but light enough for children to carry." "The blocks represent nothing but simple rectangular shapes that children's imaginations turn into kitchens, space ships, cars, and other three-dimensional objects." Where does one get these? She said they are very expensive but can be bought at school stores. She does include instructions on how to make some for a much more cost friendly approach.
Blocks important? You bet!