Developing Block Play at Dalmuir ELCC

Project author:

Project summary:

To develop an awareness within the staff team of the importance of Block Play to support childrens development

Twitter Post from Lynn McNair when we held a Froebel training session in my centre

Introduction

Block play, historically in settings I have worked in, has been present in the playroom but with no real thought or understanding behind why we have it or the benefits of it.
It took into account the principles and literature from Froebel, Patty Hill Smith and Caroline Pratt
My purpose in undertaking this project was to introduce block play within the centre and develop practitioners’ understanding of the importance of block play

Context

Block Play did not exist in my setting. . It had been a resource that practitioners have found ‘dangerous’, it was resource that could be found hidden at the back of the equipment cupboard gathering dust that no one wants to put out.
I felt it was important when introducing and supporting block play within the early years setting that there was an understanding of the history and development of block play over the years. I felt block play resources were present in my centre but with no thought or understanding as to why they were there. My rationale in implementing and supporting block play within the centre was to demonstrate to practitioners that they could assess children’s development in a much simpler, child orientated way through block play.

Methodology

In providing a well-planned and sufficiently resourced block play space, I hoped that practitioners would develop their observational skills and support and extend children’s learning.
This required resourcing which I was able to request additional budget from our local authority and this was kindly granted.
In order to ensure our block play area was sustainable, I decided it was important to support practitioners as much as possible, be there to answer questions, evaluate the space and how it was being used and model good practice.

“if you're going to have blocks you need to have enough space. You have to carve it out of your room. You have to make sure that you have created a space were children can be creative, experimental, and exploratory, so devote some space to it. Even more ideal is if you can have a space were children can leave things up overnight, because there’s that pride of ownership and investment in their work that is honored and respected by the way you treat it after it’s [finished]”.

Pam McComas (Community Playthings, 2018)

Findings

With the support of our Excellence and Equity Lead, we were able to resource and set up our block play space fairly quickly. As with all new resources, practitioners quickly became excited and keen to start using the space.
Practitioners embraced the new resources however some still need encouraged with how to support children in their play. This was supported by our Excellence and Equity Lead who spent time with each practitioner while they were in the block play room to model and support observations which in turn provided enriched learning experiences for children.
Children have loved our new block play space. Initially children all wanted to spend time in the room as they were excited with the new resources. Over time and now the initial excitement has worn off, children are being more constructive in the play.
It is exciting to see children at different stages of block play and be able to observe how their play develops.

Conclusion

It has been wonderful to see practitioners embrace block play and see the benefits it has for children’s learning and development. I no longer hear the rumbles about block play being too dangerous, I hear practitioners encouraging children to create and expand their learning. I no longer find the block play put back in the resource cupboard, I see practitioners enhancing the play by adding interesting items for the children to develop their imaginations.

Research implications

To be completed

Practitioner enquiry

To be completed

Leadership learning

To be completed

Author and role

To be completed

Comments from other network members

What did you appreciate about this research? What forward-looking questions did it raise for you?

  1. Nicole Warnock
    Nicole Warnock
    26 May 2022 at 1:19 pm

    I have really enjoyed reading your project. It can be a daunting task starting something new when not everyone is as invested as you. In reading your project I can see by the end of it practitioners were fully involved in block play by adding enhancements for children to enjoy, thank you for sharing.


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