Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Blocks

 Today some new blocks arrived in our construction area.  New materials are always welcomed with excitement, but there was something special about the shapes of these new wooden blocks.  There were small spheres and cups, tapered dowels, flat smooth circles, and other circles with raised textures and holes!  Even the teachers were excited.  A group of children sat down and enjoyed the materials together, mostly in silence.  This moment stood out for us, because often when building occurs, there is a non-stop hum of conversation.  They are discussing what they are building, why they are building, the storyline behind their choices, who is using their construction, and how it changes as they use it.  Today very few words were spoken as each child worked with their chosen materials.
The silence seemed contagious as each child built and observed each others structures.  There were slow, careful hand movements as they explored balance and how the pieces could fit together.  The children crouched down, peered closely and even stood up to get the pieces just in the place they wanted them to go.  When a child needed more space, they moved away to find a better place to be.  Everyone's movements were intentional, calm and focused.
The work with the new blocks lasted for a long while, then as suddenly as it began, the children wandered away.  With a reminder they returned to find homes for each of the new pieces.  The new materials enticed the children into a flow of focus, which was infectious.  When the materials call to the children in such a way that inspires such focus, it enhances their interactions and the environment of the school.  It looks different on different days, and today it was the silence that brought us all together.


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