Each year our classroom is different. We know that, right? We remember some years for being full of children who loved to play dress up, or we may remember a year when the creativity table was always busy with children pulling up extra chairs every day. This past year- for our classroom- our passion was blocks.
From day one in August, our entire Pre K class was building, building, building. Luckily we had set up our classroom in a way that allowed us to keep structures intact overnight in case the little construction workers wanted to continue on something the next day, which, of course they would. They loved to build. Their imagination drove their structures. Most popular was creating a home for a favorite stuffed animal, and sometimes it would turn into a very detailed home with pools, decks and play equipment. One day, a group of boys built a jet ski for a stuffed tiger – because as anyone knows, every tiger needs a jet ski!
The preschool where we teach is part of an infant-Grade 12 school, and the proximity of the construction of a new upper school building meant that we could walk across to watch, witness, and learn from the construction of a new upper school building. And…. on top of that, we were lucky enough to get our hands on the real blueprints! This added another exciting element to our obsession with building. Now students would often draw a blueprint for their structures and from the blueprint, they would build- just like we had seen being done across the street. We are a curiosity / project based school, and this excitement about building continued to morph into our project. Through this excitement and interest for building, we would create opportunities that enabled our children to learn and develop essential developmental skills.
At the same time as our love for blocks and building grew, we also were involved in a preschool-wide project to study and learn more about our local community. When our class of 14 Pre K students visited a local park, the children became obsessed with determining how long the hiking trail was. No one knew.
How could we measure it? The list the class generated of ways to measure the trail was amazing. We could line the entire trail with children. We could use a tape measure. We could use string. The most exciting idea was…. let’s measure the trail with blocks! Of course – blocks! Our favorite thing! Before loading an entire class set of unit blocks into our bus and heading to the park, we thought we would do a trial run and measure the hallway with blocks. The kids loved this! Every child was so excited to grab blocks from our block center