Friday, April 27, 2018

All The Blocks

“But they’ll take out all the blocks.”

Yes, they sometimes will. Sometimes they’ll take out all the big blocks, and then the little ones. And the animals, and the cars. Sometimes they’ll fit the little blocks inside of the big ones, and line up animals and cars in every empty space they see. 

That’s what the blocks are there for. That’s what all the toys are there for – for the children to use, to play with and to bring their ideas to reality.

I’ve always wondered about teachers’ hesitancy to let children play with all of something.  Teachers choose to limit children’s block play for so many reasons – concerns about safety, about activity level, about sharing. The limits are usually less about the children’s abilities than about the teacher’s feelings of control. And sometimes having all the blocks being used at once seems overwhelming to teachers, as teachers imagine every possible scenario of what could go wrong. Will the children really clean them up? How much space are they using? What happens if they get knocked down?

But instead of worrying about what could go wrong, take moment to consider what is going right.

Yes, they’ll take out all the blocks. And they’ll work together to build some amazing structures. They’ll add details and figure out mathematical relationships and engineering concepts that they can visualize years before they can explain them. They’ll create a space that is theirs. They feel a sense of ownership and pride as they develop the setting for their play, and create something that has the awesome grandness of being big and complicated. They’ll take out all the blocks, and it can be wonderful.

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