- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Gryphon House; 1 edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0876592531
- ISBN-13: 978-0876592533
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Block Play Paperback – May 1, 2001
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"I was amazed to discover that Block Play teaches all the skills and concepts necessary for children to be successful learners. As a librarian I appreciate the bibliography of related books." - Carolyn Olson, Willmar Public Library
"Block Play is titled 'The Complete Guide to Learning and Playing with Blocks'! And so it is! Information about the benefits and values of block play, the stages of block play and the role of the teacher in block play is written in a simple, easy-to-understand style. The author uses the example of one child to illustrate how all kinds of learning can take place within the confines of the block area. The second half of the book features specific activities to enhance block play at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels." - Laverne Nelson, Research Associate University of Arkansas
"I have not seen a book on teaching with blocks since the NAEYC book that is about 20 or more years old. This book is terrific. The sections I especially like and find useful for my classroom instruction and workshops are the chapter on Assessment especially the section on stages of development and the chapters on Activities for various levels. I talk and demonstrate about blocks and their uses in my environment class and my method class. This book will be a great asset for the students to have after they have completed the classes and they are in their first job having to justify why they want to spend several hundred dollars on a set of unit blocks or having to explain to parents on how and what children have learned with the blocks in the classroom." - Janie H. Humphries, Ed.D., Professor and Coordinator of Early Childhood Education, Louisiana Tech University
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The author has composed long lists of skills that children can learn through block play, itemized under the categories of math, science, art, literacy, physical development, social studies and social-emotional. These long lists would be helpful for teachers who need to prove to someone that playing with blocks is a worthwhile activity where learning thrives.
Ideas for setting up a block center in a classroom are detailed and are great for the classroom but don't translate completely to the home setting. There is a very brief section on choosing blocks, too brief, I believe. I was interested to hear about how many blocks one child would use and of which shapes are most played with so I can choose the best sets or a la carte blocks for our home. This information was not provided as the author states such information has been provided in other publications. Well, I was looking for that information in this book! Blocks are recommended to be stored in a sturdy shelf unit which I think is great but is quite costly for parents (the hardwood unit blocks are a large investment)! I also would have liked an appendix with sources for blocks, the best suppliers and best prices. Despite Internet access I am having problems finding these hardwood unit blocks. There are also ideas for making homemade blocks out of recycled products for younger children, such as large blocks made out of paper bags stuffed with newspaper and covered in contact paper.
There is a lot of information on assessment of learning in the block center and how teachers can document in the children's portfolios. This would be great for a teacher but almost completely useless for me as a homeschooler. The documentation process is so detailed honestly, I can't imagine any teacher would have time to document it on more than a few children (taking photos, making cassette recordings of the children playing, writing down stories the children make up, etc.). There are also activities for the teacher to do with the children to teach concepts such as balance, math, etc.
I would have liked to see more photos of children playing with the blocks and photos of what they did with them. There is plenty of space in the margins; small photos could have adorned those areas. I would have liked more to be focused on letting the child play rather than using so many props to help them along. The author gives about 100 pages of projects and activities that can be done. Most of these require a large amount of teacher-effort and are for projects such as making people to use in the block center, making playmats, task cards (photos of buildings laminated onto a card), and more. My complaints are that these projects will require a good amount of spending on supplies of laminating paper, contact paper, and cloth mats, Velcro--things that are not inexpensive. They also require the teacher to do all or a large portion of the "craft" and then the child helps a bit at the end, in some of them. My last complaint is that making so many accessories (boxes decorated to look like skyscrapers and the like) takes away from the imaginative play nature of the wooden, unadorned, blocks.
This is a great book for teachers who need lots of ideas for accessories and who have a school system paying for lots of blocks, shelves, and craft items. The assessment information is probably invaluable for schoolteachers who need to document what is done in the classroom and justify their request for blocks and block supplies to their school system. It is useful for the homeschooler or parent who wants to spend a lot of time and effort guiding the block play with homemade accessories or for learning about how great block play is for children's development. The book also clearly indicates how valuable block play is, whether the child is left to play alone or whether the teacher or parent adds accessories and does activities with the blocks. I feel that every child should have access to a great set of unit blocks. (My child began playing with them at age one. The only danger is when they are in the throwing-toys stage-ouch!)