Friday, September 07, 2018

constructive playground.

In the photo, one student steadies while the other climbs to the top. I spent a bit of time today watching students interact with the Froebel blocks. There is a gentleness to their play with the blocks and with each other.

One of the parents said upon observing the blocks, that a person would have to go to Europe to find such things... that the blocks are so unlike American education. I'm curious whether they might even be found even there. Are there schools in Europe now, where large Freobel blocks are used in this manner?

My intention is to add 4 more cubes and then at some point to add 8 number 4 blocks giving more students the opportunity to engage in cooperative play at the same time. Unlike Froebel gifts, I will not be building a box large enough to hold them.

The name I'm applying to this is a "constructive playground." It's different from a playground that parents and administrators have engineered for kids. It is one that the kids engineer and re-engineer for each other. For example, three girls were playfully jumping from one bock to another while one of our 4th grade boys moved blocks in response to their directions.

In the early days of Kindergarten, children played with very small blocks. In John Dewey's school, cooperative play with larger blocks was seen as being of value beyond personal creativity as it required collaboration. These supersized blocks enable and inspire even greater collaboration.
My daughter Lucy is in this video from ABC News Channel 7 in New York City. Look for the lovely young woman in the light green dress.

Make, fix, and create...

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