Now that your four year old is well established in his or her preschool routine, you may be wondering about some of the activities that preschools generally provide. Today, I would like to focus on the activities that fall under ‘free choice’, ‘playtime’, or ‘center time’. In that category of activity, let’s take a look at what happens in the block corner.
Day after day, a little boy goes to the block corner, almost to the exclusion of enticing activities that other children are choosing. One of the hallmarks of this time in a child’s day is that they can choose whatever it is that they find most interesting. It is an important part of learning when you are four years old and in preschool. It is probably the most interesting compelling time of the day for you, because you are in charge of deciding what to play with and how to play.
In the block area, our youngest preschoolers may simply enjoy the pure pleasure of removing every last block from the shelf. It is very liberating, feeling the power to take ALL the blocks off the shelf. No one is saying, ‘don’t take them off the shelf unless you are going to DO something with them.’ This little one is learning that he has power; he is able to decide on his own what to do with the blocks. Those of us who have helped reshelve blocks day after day and worked to gain the support of the ‘block remover’ at clean up time are thinking this is not necessarily a good thing. But it is one important stage in development and our goal should be not to prevent this from happening but to help expand the activity with the blocks by our own interest in building. It is similar to the activity of the baby in the highchair dumping everything in reach.
Dumping everything out is a stage of development and during this stage children are learning quantity and volume, and learning to take charge of their environments. We will spend more time in the block corner next week.
Big and round
I’m glad you grow
Upon the ground
I’m glad you don’t
Grow in a tree
For then you might
Fall down on me!