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More about Block Play
August 11, 2021
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
-Thomas Edison
A recent ExchangeEveryDay, asking about people’s experiences with block play and gender, received a number of insightful comments. Here is a sampling:

“Why are we still focusing so much on a ‘block center’ instead of thinking about ways to integrate block play into other areas of the program?” asked Amber from Ontario Canada.

“As an early childhood consultant,” wrote Carole Grates, from Frankenmuth, Michigan, “I see the problem stemming from the teachers. They are not comfortable with block play and often do not participate in it except for supervising behavior. Thus the girls do not see a gender role model for block play.”

Commenting on people’s observations that girls’ participation with blocks seemed more limited than boys, Francis Wardle wrote: “I address this issue in my book, Oh Boy!. While the book is targeted for teaching young boys, issues that prevent boys from fully engaging in certain activities are exactly the same as those that limit the engagement of girls. Block play is one such activity.”

An article by Stuart Reifel that’s included in the Exchange Essentials collection “Block Play,” speaks to Amber’s comment about not limiting blocks to just one area: “Relate block play with other play experiences by providing props that allow block play to reflect field trips, books, and other non-play experiences. Phone books, simple art supplies, and any number of other materials can stimulate block play. Be flexible in allowing the block play area to grow larger as more children want to build, open to other play areas to stimulate dramatic play, or spread to other areas for representational play. Older children can sustain block constructions over days or weeks, so allow structures to remain from day to day if you can.”

For those interested in gaining valuable new information about supporting children’s work with blocks and other three-dimensional materials, Nature Explore Education Specialists, Tina Reeble and Kirsten Haugen will be presenting a free Early Childhood Investigations webinar, “Engineering With Nature: Learning and Communicating through Construction Play,” on August 25, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern.

Oh Boy!
Strategies for Teaching Boys in Early Childhood

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"This is not just a book, it's a story…a story of hope for young boys attending childcare in any type of setting. It's a story that sends a message to our profession that we need a paradigm shift—to our thinking, our training, and our hiring—to recognize the gender imbalance that is putting young boys at great risk of failure. It's a story that urges us as a field to better understand the specific complexities of caring for young boys so that we may fulfill our ultimate promise to provide the highest quality of care possible to all children."
– Jerry Parr, President/CEO Willow Tree Early Education Team

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Tiffany Peckham · August 13, 2021
Lincoln, Nebraska, Australia

Joyce, thank you for the comment.

-Tiffany at Exchange

Joyce Kinney · August 11, 2021
Omaha, Nebraska, United States

I am a coach working in a quality improvement project. The ERS is one of the tools we use to measure quality, but in my opinion the ECERS especially limits Blick play

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