According to Rachel Keen a renowned psychologist, parents and facilitators need to design environment that encourage and enhance problem solving from young age. Block play ideally suit the purpose. It incorporates the three most critical elements in children- they are the brain, the hands and the heart. Moreover Block Play stimulates learning in all domains of development, intellectual, physical, social emotional and language. In our humble pursuit to promote the importance of block play in early childhood years we came up with an idea to create a model town /city (using different types of blocks) .It was embraced instantly by our facilitators with a strong belief in the fact that the teachers who play and engage in active inquiry and construct knowledge through creative exploration with materials are more positively disposed to encouraging children to do the same.
We could relate the entire process of our Joeys Block Estate to a production unit where an exclusive area was designated; material was collected, sorted, reference material booklets, pamphlets of sample models procured. It was then followed by preparing sample models for reference, discussion and debate on what type of blocks to be used for a particular model and so on and so forth. Since our aim was to prepare child friendly and age appropriate structures, specific themes were assigned to each grade like the youngest group- PreK was given ‘Animal kingdom”, K1 was given ‘Play area’ and our K2 was assigned a ‘City’. It took 2 weeks to create relevant models and during that time we realized the strength of team and each team member’s creativity came on surface, it became a ritual for all of us to visit our block room and leave with a novel idea to implement the next day.
The ideal scene at our campus was that of hustle and bustle of children’s activity with the facilitators observing, redirecting, or scaffolding. Students and staff were constantly testing and experimenting like scientists. There is a saying which is apt for this experience- “where there is a will, there is a way’, as we discovered our ideas turning into a productive model, by creating, transforming, demolishing and recreating something which is unique and magnificent. It was a perfect blend of engineering, imagination, creativity and art along with meta cognitive skills and core building strength of children. It served as a catalyst for concrete experimentation, discovery and demonstration in addition to enjoyment and satisfaction. The sense of achievement was so overwhelming that our K2 children then decided to label their models, leading them to choose the appropriate names and writing it themselves.
Not to forget the process of shifting those models to the display area, a challenge that required us to put on our six thinking hats where we had to arrange, align, adorn and appraise it as per the vision. Our all time mantra- “Nothing less than best”, kept us on task and we succeeded in creating a majestic model estate. The sub titles- Pre K Builders Pvt. Ltd., K1 Developers Pvt. Ltd.,K2 Architects Pvt. Ltd. were given as a token of respect for the relentless efforts and creativity of all our creators- young and old. Last but not the least, the curtains were made meticulously to keep the area covered and let curiosity rule the audience during our yearly event Ants@bonding .com, (3rd April to 5th April’ 2018)moreover we had the privilege of having our Director Nashyma’am to unveil our display area. All in all it was an enlightening, energizing and exhilarating experience for all, as our little Joeys created a history. ..“Every block has a model inside it & it is the task of the developer to discover & create it”.