Play and learning blog

child and teacher playing clapping game together

Learning through music

Grant, five months old, attends a nursery where the staff and children love to sing. One day his key worker lost her voice, and she noticed that Grant was fussy and discontented.

“We have all experienced crying, fussy, or sick children in our care who become calm when quality instrumental music is played. They are listening!” writes Elizabeth Carlton, music consultant at High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

“If we sing to our three- and four-year-olds, we will probably be asked to sing the song again…and again. Many listening experiences during the first two years of life are necessary before children actually sing or talk with us…Songs, instruments, and instrumental music are wonderful ways to develop children’s listening skills and awareness of different words and musical pitches.” Read the article

polarexpress

STEAM with Block play

tech-nol-o-gy  [tek-nol-uh-jee]   
1. The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
2. Machinery and devices developed from scientific knowledge.
3. The branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences. (Oxford Dictionary)

 

Educators recognise that a balance is needed between digital learning and practical experience, and hands-on experimentation often leads to complicated engineering and "machinery developed from scientific knowledge”. Equipment that is durable, modular and fosters curiosity and imagination supports STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths). If this is so, block play is at the foundation of technology.

 

Take a look at this steam engine built out of Unit blocks by two five year old boys. It makes you wonder what they will be building in 20 years! 
A child playing with blocks and pinecones

More than just a theory

Toys and tinsel cluttered the shelves and lay strewn on the floor. Four-year-old Mia and three-year-old Roger were at odds with each other, grabbing and arguing.  Suddenly a collection of shells, forgotten since our last trip to the sea, found its way into Mia’s hands. Peace reigned as she and Roger began to decorate a chair with the shells and when they ran out of shells, they used pinecones—after all who ‘owns’ the things of nature?

Nature offers a wide assortment of loose parts that are captivatingly simple and empowering. Although educators have always known the great play value in natural materials, current research now validates the tremendous learning potential they offer. Read the article.

Outlast sleigh

Blocks are Teachers

Blocks are teachers, not just toys. Block play offers a vast range of experiences, enriching every area of the curriculum and supporting child development. For over 100 years educators have been  promoting the use of blocks in early childhood classrooms as a powerful learning tool. Because modular blocks are so versatile, they offer endless opportunities for a child’s imagination to soar while discovering basic math and science principles, practicing problem-solving techniques and social skills, and building a solid foundation for future education.

Enjoy St Nick's sleigh built by these children with our new Outlast blocks.

Happy Christmas from us all at Community Playthings!

Schemas

Rewards of repetition

Why does Thomas tie everything up in string? Why does Lynn always twirl in circles? If you are puzzled about a child’s behaviour, you might be seeing a schema in action: “Children have a natural urge to do the same thing again and again…this is a vitally important element in young children’s development and learning.” Writes Stella Louis in her new booklet Schemas for parents.

This booklet “will make parents feel empowered to enjoy their children.” says Professor Tina Bruce. Parents and practitioners “will find comfort in seeing that some of the puzzling things their children do can be explained and made educationally worthwhile.” 

Read more about Schemas.

Search or browse our learning library

Filter by topic or type