William Harrison and Debbie Severin will represent City and Country School at Bank Street College's Annual Infancy Institute for caregivers, teachers, directors, trainers, and family childcare providers, leading the workshop Exploring How Young Children Learn Through Block Play.
Unit blocks, when used well, enhance five major interrelated aspects of child learning: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and intuitional. We will look at children's exploration of the material in an educational environment/classroom setting as well as the developmental stages through which children progress as they work toward representational structures. We will discuss the ways in which block building reflects and supports children's understanding of the world and provides them with a concrete manner in which to express this understanding.
For the Sake of Our Children: From Divisions to Connections
Thoughts for this year's program, Infants, Toddlers, Families: Supporting Their Growth (Tuesday, June 18 - Thursday, June 20, 2013):
Society’s trend toward breaking reality into separate and often contradictory pieces is becoming ever more evident. It is now deeply affecting the shape and quality of our children’s early education. At the core of this trend is a tendency toward placing things at opposing ends of an either-or line (e.g., black or white, this or that, abled or disabled). Such placement obscures connections and fuels the fear that the existence of one thing—or person—threatens another. Does playtime threaten learning time, for example? If we choose one must we lessen the other?
It is time to explore an alternative way of looking at the world, one that acknowledges multiple perspectives as complementary parts of one whole and welcomes the surprises that await us when we go beyond the fixed boxes into we which we place reality. Perhaps early childhood education, once the stronghold of such a view, can once again reclaim it, for the sake of our children.