As a member of Reading Council's Childminder Partnership I attend a number of different CPD sessions throughout the year that are created specifically for childmimders. Reading's Early Year's support team create all the sessions with a view to help childcarers become the best Early Years professionals that they can be.
Towards the end of February I attended the Block Play session which I found to be really enlightening. The session was put together and delivered by Community Playthings. One of Community Playthings core beliefs is that "Blocks allow children’s imaginations to guide their play". I think CP have hit the nail on the head with how they view blocks so when I got home from the session I really put this belief to work and changed how I engage with blocks as a development tool.
Block play covers a variety of areas from the EYFS - Communication and language, Physical development, Personal, social and emotional development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world & Expressive arts and design
Communication and language – using and increasing existing vocabulary, discussing ideas by talking with one another on what they wish to do, listening to others ideas
Physical development – developing gross motor skills when perhaps picking up and moving a larger hollow block with another child, developing fine motor skills when positioning and manipulating smaller blocks precisely & hand eye coordination skills
Personal, social and emotional development - discussing ideas with one another, opportunity to collaborate with others
Literacy – using mark making skills to draw their constructions, refering back to books whilst building their own structures (e.g. cool architecture for kids) using story books in their constructions (e.g. the 3 little pigs)
Maths – counting blocks and learning about positioning, using size and quantity in context (e.g. more or less, longer or shorter), learn about shapes and how to describe shape, learn the correct mathematical words for shapes (e.g. square and rectangle), sorting (e.g. by size and by property - rectangle/semi circle)
Understanding the world - understanding structures that are commonly used in our environment, how to make stable structures, exploring different shapes, textures and even the smell of the wooden blocks
Expressive arts & design – as blocks are open ended they can be used with small world resources (e.g. people & animals) to create and develop stories around whatever structures have been created (e.g. a dinosaur farm with a new train station)