Blocks in the City…C&C made the news for our ever-relevant and tried and true program in Kyle Spencer’s 11/28/11 article in the New York Times: With Blocks, Educators Go Back To Basics.
The article discusses the recent interest in block play in classrooms and programs around the City. As noted in the article, the wooden unit blocks now used the world over originated right here at C&C. Our use of blocks as an ideal learning tool is based on decades of experience and commitment to the material. Many of our colleagues turn to us through classroom visits and workshops as a resource for inspiration and instruction on how to integrate blocks into their programs.
WOODWORKING is making a comeback…but it never left C&C! The New York Times featured an article,“Kindergarten Shop Class” by Julie Scelfo (3/30/11), about a recent upsurge in interest in woodworking for children, perhaps as a reaction to the growing trends of passive recreation, teaching to the test and overprotective parenting. As you know, your children create with wood on a daily basis at C&C, starting with their fully stocked woodworking table in the IVs. Caroline Pratt, an avid woodworker, knew from the beginning that children thrive when they can create something real out of something imagined, solve a problem through working with their hands and contribute something useful to their community. Woodworking is one important context in which C&C children can use their minds AND their bodies as they practice making a plan, putting it into action and honing their fine motor skills for an extremely gratifying purpose.
Literacy Through Book Choice: C&C’s longtime approach to literacy is new in traditional settings: an 8/29/09 article (“A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like”) in the New York Times focused on an educational movement that offers students the opportunity to choose their own reading books. The Library Program at C&C is founded on this principle. You can also read an Alumni Newlsetter article we wrote about the C&C Library Program here.
Specific, Descriptive Feedback Instead of General Praise: Like our written reports that are descriptive and context specific, when interacting with students C&C teachers focus on the work at hand, rather than offering general praise: “This painting has a lot of red and black lines, tell me more about it”–not–“This painting is beautiful!” The research of Carol Dweck at Stanford supports our belief that when children are invested in their work for the satisfaction of learning in and of itself rather than working for praise, children take more risks and have a deeper learning experience. You can read more about this in the 2/11/07 New York Magazine article “How Not to Talk to Your Kids.”
Articles About Play
“Effort to Restore Children’s Play Gains Momentum,” The New York Times, January 5, 2011.
“Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?,” The New York Times, September 25, 2009
“The 3 Rʼs? A Fourth Is Crucial, Too: Recess,” The New York Times, February 23, 2009.
“The Serious Need for Play,” Scientific American, January, 2009.
“Taking Play Seriously”, The New York Times, February 17, 2008.
“Q&A: The Best Kind of Play for Kids,” National Public Radio, February 27, 2008.
“Creative Play Makes for Kids in Control,” National Public Radio, February 29, 2008.
“Play Science – the Patterns of Play,” The National Institute for Play, 2006.
Websites and Video Promoting the Importance of Play
Tim Brown on creativity and play at TED Talks: Tim Brown, CEO of renowned and innovative design firm IDEO, described the benefits of play for adults in their work in a hands-on lecture given in 2008 in the TED talks series. His emphasis on the connection between what children naturally do in play and what we can continue to cultivate as adults to great effect echoes so very closely what the children do every day at C&C: explore, build (learn with their hands), role play, and come together as a group to share, inspire and create something new. He says that playfulness and seriousness go hand in hand, and we say that play is work!
International Play Association: “IPA’s world-wide network promotes the importance of play in child development, provides a vehicle for inter- disciplinary exchange and action, and brings a child perspective to policy development throughout the world.”
Alliance for Childhood: “The Alliance for Childhood promotes policies and practices that support childrenʼs healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living.”
Books About Play and Learning
A Childʼs Work by Vivian Paley: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.