What is a 'Sensitive Period'? What should we expect at two years?
Five Minute Montessori - Matching Containers and Lids

Learning with Unit Blocks

Learning with Unit Blocks
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Since Julia recommended Teaching Numeracy, Language, and Literacy with Blocks my attitude towards these unit blocks has completely changed. This book is a complete block guide. There are so many things you can do, so many ways you can use blocks that I had never considered. Mindset changed!

Learning with Unit Blocks.
As soon as I read about it I knew Otis would like this. I traced around twelve different sized blocks in pencil on A4 paper. Then I copied over the pencil with a black marker and laminated the sheet. Then I presented them to Otis with the corresponding blocks on a work mat. Together we matched the block to it's outline. This is fun physical work. Toddlers like Otis can have difficulty sitting still, this is all about movement!
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More movement! Lifting, carrying, balancing and transporting the unit blocks. Otis spontaneously picked up the blocks, put them into his wagon and transported them back to the block room. 

Learning with Unit Blocks
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First he had to get them to fit and have them balancing right. 
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In the block room we previously stored our blocks in tubs. Reading about how unit blocks are stored in early education centres really got me thinking. We had a playstand sitting unused so we've turned it into shelving. 
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how we montessori block shelf
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It makes sense. It's inviting, easier for the children to find the block they are looking for and it's orderly!
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how we montessori block shelf
What else have I learnt?
  • Blocks are not just for toddlers or the very young. Children of all ages can learn through block work. 
  • Working with blocks can be very physical. It's not about a child sitting and playing quietly. It can be about movement and learning through movement.
  • Working with blocks can be very social. Children can learn about social rules while working with blocks (even if it's with a parent or a sibling!).
  • To use language with block work. While it's important not to break the concentration of the child, block work can involve dialogue. There are words you can give your child and concepts you can explore while working with blocks. 
  • There are stages of block work. Otis is in the discovery stage. Caspar by looking at these photographs is at patterns and pretending.  
Learning with Unit Blocks
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Learning with Unit Blocks
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Learning with Unit Blocks
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I have also learnt that these blocks have names! It's great to be able to use the correct terminology for the block - pillar, column etc. 
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Teaching Numeracy, Language and Literacy with Blocks - the names of Unit Blocks
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One thing still missing? I would love (as suggested by Julia!) some architectural type prints. In the block room we have picture frames at the child level but they are currently filled with nature prints (the frames fit the Bit of Intelligence cards). I've been looking but I have no idea where to find something suitable. I would love your suggestions.
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