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Hello all, I'm after some advice in regard to the wonderful wooden blocks- I am desperate to use my EYP funding to buy some blocks but I am the only person in my setting who is familiar with them and the value of block play so cannot simply go ahead and buy them! My transformation funding for foundation degree was meant to be used to buy some but a few of the committee disagreed with such an extreme spending of money, however now I have the support of the leader who sees how passionate I am about them but training is a must...the money for EYP needs no regulating by external folks unlike TF so as yet it hasn't really been spent except for few sessions cover for myself and I am fearing it will be swallowed up and frittered away...

anyway the whole point of this post was to ask you lovelies how you introduced and implemented the use of block play. My LA is providing a course but I believe there is only one day offered and for all staff to attend is impossible unless we closed-not an option. Therefore does anyone know of any external companies that provide block play training?

I have seen a one-day block play conference at Roehampton Uni with the marvellous Tina Bruce amongst others with a £75 charge on a Saturday so possibly easier for staf to attend (I hope) in June, is anyone else going?

I am also debating between three books so I can do more background research and wonder if anyone has any recommendations between either?-

A Constructivist Approach to Block Play in Early Childhood: Block Play in Early Childhood

Exploring Learning: Young Children and Blockplay

Block Play: The Complete Guide to Learning and Playing with Blocks

 

Hope you can help

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I have seen a one-day block play conference at Roehampton Uni with the marvellous Tina Bruce amongst others with a £75 charge on a Saturday so possibly easier for staf to attend (I hope) in June, is anyone else going?

OOh sounds right up my street!

 

You can order a really good (free) DVD and book from the Community Playthings website, if that helps.

 

Maz

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OOh sounds right up my street!

 

You can order a really good (free) DVD and book from the Community Playthings website, if that helps.

 

Maz

 

 

you can download the booklet http://www.communityplaythings.co.uk/resou...-a-unicorn.html

and order the training powerpoint

 

http://www.communityplaythings.co.uk/resou...h-literacy.html

http://www.communityplaythings.co.uk/resou...k-building.html

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I have the dvd...somewhere!...so must dig it out as is something I can show staff at meeting...I'm conscious that I don't want staff to feel pressured but at the same time I think they will be just fantastic for our children as we are in a packaway setting in a village hall...our construction selection isn't fab but they absolutely love playing 'builders' and our plastic blocks are so popular for both girls and boys, older and younger children whenever we have them out, I would hope that the wooden blocks would become a continuous part of our provision and always available- at present we have an 8day toy rota so that doesn't give a great deal of continuity (although plans are adpated weekly based on interests so obviously popular resources are more readily available)

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We just unpacked them and the children grabbed them from me as I took them out of the boxes and started building straight away. Just this last week we've had a pirate ship, a castle, a big ramp for driving cars down, a footbridge to the washroom for single file lining up (hehe - bit adult initiated that one, but hey-ho) and one of the girls decided to design a house for her bear and took her clipboard and drew one then got her friends to help her build it!

 

We've only had them a couple of weeks, but money very well spent. I may look at the videos when/if the children's inspiration flags ........

 

Oh - and I have to add - the smell from the birchwood is WONDERFUL, it fills the room!

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Cait, thats really interesting that you didn't do any training, yes I've no doubt the children love them xD

I'm pretty sure my staff will see the benefits but I feel they could be slightly intimidated by them as I don't think they are very aware of them other than what I've said about them, were your staff aware of them? Did you decide as a team that you would get them or was it something you led them on? maybe I am underestimating my staff :(

Smell sounds very appealing- better than musty village hall smell! :o

Ooh, also, which blocks did you get-the unit or hollow or a mixture? And how many did you get in relation to how many children you have? As I know people recommend getting lots so children don't get frustrated with not having enough...sorry for all the questions!

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We just have a half nursery hollow block set which isn't enough, to be honest. Although we did win a set of unit blocks (or rather Mrs Weasley did) and I'd recommend using both together.

 

We didn't have any training either - but the proof of this particular pudding is definitely in the building, and I have to say it was worth every penny for the hollow blocks!

 

Maz

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Cait, thats really interesting that you didn't do any training, yes I've no doubt the children love them xD

I'm pretty sure my staff will see the benefits but I feel they could be slightly intimidated by them as I don't think they are very aware of them other than what I've said about them, were your staff aware of them? Did you decide as a team that you would get them or was it something you led them on? maybe I am underestimating my staff :(

Smell sounds very appealing- better than musty village hall smell! :o

Ooh, also, which blocks did you get-the unit or hollow or a mixture? And how many did you get in relation to how many children you have? As I know people recommend getting lots so children don't get frustrated with not having enough...sorry for all the questions!

 

 

We bought a school set of unit blocks and a half pre school set of hollow blocks for our foundation unit but have found it far too many unit blocks so have shared them with Y1 & Y2.

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We have the full set of Preschool hollow blocks and the cart. It came to £1519.28, which is a lot of money, but I'm sure they are going to be worth their weight! I can already see that it has totally altered the nature of the children's play, and moved them away from very small, low level play to a much more physical, gross motor play which is firing their imaginations.

 

 

Oh and quick edit to say that a grant was available, and we had to move quickly so I just 'went for it'. It was either that or we lost out, again!

Edited by Cait
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We have the full set and two of the block carts - children can sit on them which they really like. I would love more but don't know where I would keep it!!!!!

 

The best training is to put it out and let the children show you how....

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we have the block cart and a lot of hollow blocks.....worth their weight in gold.I have never had any training in how to use them.........but then again, neither have the children!!! :o they are THE most wonderful resource and i would never have a problem about spending that amount of money on them, so go for it!

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Hi

 

We have the community playthings block set that all fits on the box with lid and wheels.

 

Your staff won't need any training the children just spend ages playing and being creative with them. One of the best things I have ever bought.

 

We do set them up with other resources but it works much better if the children just get them out themselves.

 

BUY them you won't regret it.

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I bought the hollow blocks in the year I did my foundation degree. They are used daily and I would like some more, but I have bought some smaller wooden blocks from TTS that get mixed in with them, as they are natural wood and were a lot cheaper.

 

If you have the money go for it!

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...we often say that if we were forced to get rid of everything bar one resource the thing we would keep would be the blocks.

 

Our children used them daily, they are "The" most popular resource we have, we have the large and medium sized ones; the thought and discussion that goes into the co-operation in designing houses, ships, castles, stairs, bridges, roads you name it they have made it.

 

Best value for money in the long run of all the things we have bought using grant money and our own, we often have to clear the floor space as they run out of room to let their imaginations run riot.

 

So you can see I like Community Playthings blocks just a bit...!

 

BMG

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We love love love them too!! Haven't had any training either other than the children leading us. They have really enhanced our observation skills and have been amazed at the connection between them and the children

 

haven't really bought any other equipment since buying these- other than 'found' materials/objects that really enhance them and the imaginations of the children :)

 

we use the half hollow size in the baby room and have been amzed watching the 15mth+ explore them, building, stacking balancing along them. These blocks follow through the age rooms for consistency of provision with the full size version mixing in.

 

I can recommend the biggest trucks too!

 

Saving up for more blox!!

 

 

Ps Cait-love the way you've disguised your children :)

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come and visit me extraordinary child and see them used in action and I have lots of materials you can use too!

Also the training with Tina Bruce sounds great how you thinking of getting there? and can I come too? :o

Andrea x

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We have the blocks in the cart as well as a set of the hollow bricks.......... no training necessary.... honest.

 

The children LOVE them and use them pretty much everyday. Sometimes in combination with each other sometimes not.

 

I went to training where we were told that children build at low level first and would need encouragement to build tall and high............... UTTER RUBBISH!

From day one they have built wonderful things and at great heights too.

We had to go and buy some wooden stools (from IKEA) and some plastic step stools to help them safely build the bricks to a high level!!

 

Our PTA bought the cart and we used some of a grant for the hollow blocks.

 

Defintely well worth it!!!!!

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wow I'm so chuffed at the amount of positive responses, thank you all!

So this morning the leader and I made a wishlist and decided which sets we would like- have gone for a full nursery set of mini hollow blocks and a set of introductory unit blocks with storage to get us going and hope to 'save' some money by in case we want to purchase more. I can't believe we are finally going to get some and all the staff I have spoken to are so far sharing my enthusiasm for such a fab resource- why wouldn't though hey! :o

with the help of our DO and CCAT we have created an action plan for all the eyp funding...a hefty chunk going to myself which I am extremely chuffed about as I didn't ask for a penny! We don't have enough to visit Penn Green too but we are on the case with that to find some other way to fund a trip

anyway next step is to take the plan to the committee meeting Tuesday and wait for them to dare challenge us lol! I wonder if taking a little research to committee would help? We are not really asking for their permission to spend the money, more to ensure they are aware of what we are spending it on

I can't wait to see the faces of my children when they first have them! and to see where they take the resources will be so interesting

Andrea I would love to come visit you and you're more than welcome to come with me to conference! It starts at half9, takes about 3 hours from south shropshire via car, not worth train journey with all the connections...an interesting q was asked my CCAT regarding paying staff to attend conference, what anybody else pay their staff wages ontop of conference fee? The budget only allows for travel costs not wages so hope staff will not be too disgruntled- the leader and I are just excited to be going somewhere as a team to learn about something fab! Sad ey lol

Thanks again for all your messages!

Did everyone literally plonk the blocks out in the session or did you introduce them at all to the children?

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Like I said - children were hopping from foot to foot as I unpacked them! They snatched them off me as fast as they could and started building right away! The only involvement I gave them was to demonstrate that the ramp had a 'right way and a wrong way' to butt up to the other blocks without leaving a gap. I wasn't sure if they'd work that out, or just assume that it was wrong on one ramp and ok on another and not consider turning it over. I only told two children, who passed it on, so we could see 'use others as sources of information and learning' in action!!!!

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