A Valued Learning Material
Cold Spring School values blocks as a material for learning. Block building facilitates the exploration of possibilities, of wonderings, of constructive play; sometimes in collaboration with others, sometimes independently. They contribute to mathematical learning, the arts, language, science, social and physical development, and thematic studies.
Well-made blocks like big and small wooden blocks, Kapla Blocks, plus-plus blocks, offer our children a fully immersive, joyful experience of construction, learning, and play! There is aesthetic beauty in the uniformity and simplicity of these blocks - materials that represent nothing but simple shapes that are transformed into creative pieces of art and sculpture by a child’s imagination. Children learn to work with a cause and effect approach - predicting the stress and strain resulting from forces of gravity on their structures as they work on the concepts of equilibrium, sequence, balance and stability.
Blocks have a designated space in each classroom and are visible and accessible to children of all ages at Cold Spring School. At the beginning of each year, a shared understanding about how blocks will be handled and stored, and how the block space will be used is developed. Children are drawn to these simple wooden shapes of varied sizes. In their squeals of delight, their high-fives of triumph, and in moments when their structures tumble and their plans fail, real learning happens. One that furthers risk taking and persistence; one that gives them the important experience of starting over, to practice; to build stamina. Block building offers opportunities for children to get a glimpse into the thinking of their peers, to appreciate the joy they feel when successful and disappointment they may feel with a toppling.
As adults, we often marvel at children’s intricate, jaw-dropping engineering feats but the next time you admire a finished structure, take the time to imagine the process that brought it into being; one that involves the child’s muscles, senses, emotions, and intellect.
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