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Block Play Conference


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So myself and my team went down to London on Saturday for Roehampton Uni's 2nd annual Froebel conference with the above title and I just wanted to express my absolute delight at how fantastic and inspirational this conference was- words are not enough!

We had a really long day (4.15am pick up to catch 5.55am Worcester- London train) but it was so worth it, I was so amazed at the quality of speakers and workshop leaders, it was truely fantastic.

Tina Bruce was sadly unwell however, Pat Gura- her research assistant for the block play research late 1980's to early 1990's- was so passionate, enthusiastic, experienced and knowledgeable that it radiated from her and you could not help but feel the same. I spoke to her afterwards and started to cry!!!! (in a happy way of course!)

My staff are now so keen for the blocks to be delivered (fingers crossed either this or next week!) and cannot wait for the children to start playing with them. I have to say, I am so glad we went on the conference beforehand- there is so much to consider that would never ever have thought of and could have impacted on children's play.

For instance, the majority of 'accidents' with blocks falling over happens within 12'' of the block storage, therefore, a 12'' perimeter 'no build zone' is recommended...

a tip from colleague: laminate the Community Playthings catalogue pictures to support the children in tidying up. These pictures have the correct names for the blocks too, which supports children's vocab- putting up a poster (having drawn around the blocks) shares these names with parents so they are part of the experience and children also use the poster to match up the block shapes...

tip from Pat Gura: if you are unable to leave children's creations out over time: when they have finished, get them to stand on a chair/somewhere elevated so they can understand that their creation is 3-dimensional...

put blocks close enough to accessories but not together or the block play may not progress...

read the poem 'Block City' by Robert Louis Stevenson

there were loads more but can't think off the top of my head any more!

Did anyone else on here happen to be there too?

If not, I implore you to consider going to the next conference whatever the theme may be as it really was fantastic (and the food was beautiful too!!!) and I never realised how much a fan of Froebel I am- I recognised him as an influential pioneering educator but there is so much of his work I am not familiar with so yet more things to do...on the upside I have finished my degree so will have more time on my hands to read such things!

If you have the blocks then please do invest in 'Exploring Learning: Young Children and Blockplay' ed Pat Gura- it has pretty much everything you could possibly read and learn about blocks in one book!

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Having just taken delivery of our set of Pre-School hollow blocks this week, I read your post with interest. I will try to get hold of the book you mention.

 

I was surprised at how heavy some of the blocks were, so we will need to learn about careful supervision of activities. I will watch this post with interest for any further snippets of information.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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At my nusery we have discussed "must have" resources and have drawn the conclusion that if we had to get rid of everything and just keep one it would be the wooden blocks. That's why every time we get a grant we have been adding to our collection and now have small, medium and the large hollow blocks from Community Playthings.

 

The play value is immense, never a day goes by without the children using the ramps to drive up and over, castles, cars, supermarkets, beds all sorts being built. They are constantly talking, discussing the next move, planning, negotiating, even arguing - but talking.

 

...and being greedy we would like to keep one more resource and that would be balloons!

 

Enjoy ! :o

 

BMG

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Hi

How interesting.

I am about to order some for a |Year 1 and 2 class. Which would you recommend. I was thinking of the class set of solid ones with a few latge hollow key pieces..

 

thanks for the tips.

Sunshine :o

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Hi Sunshine we have ordered a pre-school set of unit blocks and a nursery set of mini hollow blocks for our pre-school group. We may only have 18 on roll but we bought the biggest sets we could afford as they last for so long, are so durable, and such a high quality resource to support children's play and learning- they are an investment rather than a purchase.

If you go on the Community Playthings website and look under resources, the article 'All blocks are not equal' suggests how many blocks you will need for each age range- obviously the older the children the more blocks you will need- you can see how many pieces are in a set on the Community Playthings website and catalogue. It was reinforced by Pat Gura and Karyn Wellhousen-Tunks that children will get quickly frustrated if they do not have sufficient quantities of blocks- you can even buy individual pieces from CP. Also, as they progress through the stages of block play, children need more blocks to support their creations.

All the community playthings articles on block play are really interesting if you get chance to read them.

Deb-I too was surprised at how heavy they are yet this does not deter the children, gets their muscles working I suppose! :o

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