Teddy Bear Day Care – Ypsilanti

Teddy Bear Day Care and Learning Center

Block ‘n’ Roll in the Infant Class

by Leslie - September 22nd, 2010.
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Wednesday blog posts will feature an in-depth update of a lesson in one of our classrooms.  Where better to start than with our little ones in the Infant Class?

This afternoon in their group time the students played with and explored a variety of blocks.  Members of the teaching team were looking for two important things to happen during this activity:

1.)    For the students to interact with the blocks alongside their peers; and

2.)    For them to copy teachers’ interactions with toys.

The first goal above is an antecedent skill to parallel play, which is a type of play that developmental theorist Jean Piaget coined.  He wrote that this phenomenon typically displays itself in children around two-years old, where children will play together in the same focus area, with the same toys, but doing so independently.  In parallel play children may appear to be playing together, yet in observation a teacher will see that there is little to no social interaction amongst the students.

In order to address goal number two from above, the teachers also sorted the blocks by color and by shape.  While they did not necessarily expect the students to do the same (sorting is a skill that will be acquired later), they wanted the students to begin to recognize differences and similarities in the blocks.

Since it is difficult to predict what exactly infants will do with blocks, the teachers primarily use foam, vinyl-covered blocks in the classroom.  For the students to have a true sensory experience with the blocks, the teaching team also wanted them to use small plastic blocks.  The students picked-up the blocks, explored them (with hands, eyes, and mouths), piled them up, and then knocked them down.  For those students who are working on crawling, the teachers would place the block several feet in front of the pre-crawlers to encourage them to move toward the blocks.  For those students who are beginning to feel comfortable with crawling, they scooted the blocks around the class underneath their chests.  How do you use blocks with infants?
A student stacking blocks.  She is using trial and error to figure out which angles she needs to place the blocks to get them to stack.  Next, her teachers will aim for her to stack three blocks on top of each other.

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