The importance of Block Play, and how it fits into our Kindergarten curriculum. (The quotes all come from the book The Block Book by Elisabeth Hirsch. It is published by The NAEYC. The page numbers are in parenthesis after the quotes.)
Science: “Invention and discovery are part of scientific thinking. A successful scientist has a creative mind, and creates new forms through finding relationships among established ideas. In block building, the material is fluid, providing for infinite possibilities for a child to develop ideas and improvise or create at will (p. 32)
Math: A child’s artistry in- and feeling for- block building is closely related to the true mathematician’s view of mathematics as a creative art. The aesthetic pleasure which an adult mathematician experiences when he contemplates shape and form and their properties is similar to the pleasure and joy the child experiences when he builds (p. 33).
Social Studies: The relationships with other people, children and adults, is the basis of social studies. In social studies, we deal with people and their relationships to each other through time and space (p. 68)
Dramatic Play: One of the most profound means available to children for constructing and reconstructing, formulating knowledge is through play…Play is the visible language of childhood wherein we see and hear the total functioning, revealing his or her concerns, conflicts, information and misinformation, ambivalences, wishes, hopes, pleasures, and questions. (p. 69)
My personal observations about block play in our class this year: Some of us enjoy the structure and some of us enjoy the accessories. By this I mean some of us enjoy building many structures, while some of us prefer the “add ons” the little things that add to the animation of the structure. We all enjoy the block area, but some of us enjoy it more. Some enjoy the building and some enjoy telling others what to build. Some enjoy the process and some enjoy the end product. It is creative and functional. It is trial and error. It is balance and gravity. It just is the block area.