C&C began the Block Connection initiative in 2005, helping to fulfill founder Caroline Pratt’s vision of making a real change in how all children are taught and bringing her approach to education to schools across the city. Partnering with public school teachers and administrators, C&C educators demonstrate how open-ended materials—unit blocks, in particular—and a commitment to dramatic play are crucial components of learning for young children. Through the Block Connection initiative, C&C’s educators have shared their passion and enthusiasm for children’s block work with their public school colleagues, primarily in New York and New Jersey, but also internationally with educators in Iceland, Jamaica, and Russia.
In 2018, The Tietz Family Foundation funded an expansion of the Block Connection Initiative, allowing C&C to create a two-part program: The Block Connection Principals’ Breakfast, a chance for school leaders to visit the School and learn firsthand about Block Connection, followed by the Block Connection Conference, a day-long workshop that introduces public school teachers to our program. This work is explained in detail in this article from Issue II of C&C’s Magazine, Works In Progress. C&C teachers and public school educators also share their insights into the process and lasting impact of block work in this video, sponsored by the Tietz Family Foundation.
Inspired by our outdoor block video, Canadian administrators invited C&C to Canada in the fall of 2019 to talk for the first time about our outdoor yard materials. C&C representatives offered workshops to teachers, social workers, and other early childhood specialists, sharing the history of the outdoor blocks and how the children currently work with them at C&C. This article from Issue III of Works In Progress tells more about the partnership with our colleagues in Canada.
Educators and administrators wishing to learn more about C&C’s programs and work with blocks, and see the program in action, are encouraged to register for a visit. (Please note that educator visits are not being held at this time due to the impacts of COVID-19.)
About the Tietz Family Foundation
Founded by Larry Tietz, The Tietz Family Foundation, is built on a rock-solid set of beliefs: that all kids can learn, and that all teachers and administrators can find a pathway, if they are given access to the right tools and resources. The Foundation is dedicated to bringing about real, lasting changes to the American educational system with a focus on what Tietz calls a “common-sense approach” to education. C&C is grateful to the Tietz Family Foundation for its ongoing partnership and support of the Block Connection initiative.