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July 5, 2018

July 2nd Building and Structures

Children learn through positive interactions with caring adults who understand how children develop and provide opportunities for meaningful hands-on learning experiences. They learn best through engaging their senses and need individual support as they explore and discover themselves, others and the world around them in the context of their families and cultures.

Our Soar in 4 evening focused on exploring Buildings and Structures. Block play is a great way to provide learning experiences and investigations in math, science, and literacy.

* Math skills: Children learn counting, comparison of length and width, names of shapes, and how to combine some geometric shapes to make other shapes. They are even learning the basics of addition when they discover that two short blocks will be the same length as the next size block.

* Science skills: Children experience gravity as their constructions fall, and they learn the use of simple machines such as ramps through their building.

* Language skills: Children learn vocabulary as they talk about what they are creating and discuss their experiences that they are representing with the blocks.

* Children acquire an understanding of sequence, an important reading skill, as they retell their experiences with the blocks.

Families participated in building and structures activities at the Central Library and the Art Center. The Health Coach, parked outside of the Art Center, and provided immunizations and school physicals.

Young children love building things. We learned we can use all kinds of things for building, including blocks, boxes, sticks and cups. We examined a variety of buildings and talked about the parts of buildings.

All children progress through specific stages as they use blocks in play.

Stages of Block Building:

Stage 1: Carrying Blocks: Blocks are carried around but not used for construction. At this stage, children simply love to touch, feel, move, carry, hold, drop, pack and repack (generally, very young children or very inexperienced builders.)

Stage 2: Building Begins: Children mostly make rows, either horizontal (on the floor) or vertical (stacked). There is much repetition in this early building pattern, which is basic functional play with blocks (approximately around age 2-3 years.)

Stage 3: Bridging: Children create a bridge (or passage-way) by using two blocks to support a third (approximately three years of age.)

Stage 4: Enclosures: Children place blocks in such a way that they enclose a space. Bridging and enclosures are among the earliest technical problems children solve when playing with blocks, and they occur soon after a child begins to use blocks regularly. These spaces are often called cages in a zoo or pet store. In this stage, children will want to add additional accessories such as figures for dramatic play or gems to use as food for the animals, etc. (approximately four years of age.)

Stage 5: Complex Structures: With age, children become steadily more imaginative in their block building. They use more blocks and create more elaborate designs, incorporating patterns, symmetry and balance into their constructions. Children may incorporate several different block accessories as their play becomes more involved (approximately 4 or 5 years of age.)

Stage 6: Complex Structures with Elaborate Dramatic Play: Naming of structures for dramatic play begins and engagement in elaborate dramatic play scenarios occurs. Before this stage, children may have named their structures, but not necessarily based on the function of the building. This stage of block building corresponds to the “realistic” stage in art development.

Children use blocks to represent things they know, like cities, cars, airplanes, and houses.

Building with blocks provides one of the most valuable learning experiences available for young children. Block play stimulates learning in all domains of development, intellectual, physical, and social-emotional and language.