This unit is designed to begin early in the school year in a Kindergarten classroom and continue throughout the year. The lessons are integrated as a Whole Language approach with objectives taken from the Kindergarten curriculum. The unit goal is to lead the student to an understanding of basic principles of building and architecture through block building, language arts and mathematics activities.
The block corner should be established prior to the arrival of the children. It requires storage space accessible to children 4-6 years old, where they can replace the blocks when their work is done. Sufficient floor space for building is crucial and it must be away from the traffic of other children.
Introduction to the block corner includes well established rules such as 1. blocks are never thrown 2. clean-up means carrying the blocks to put them away 3. only 2-4 children will play in the area at the same time.
The unit begins with a period of 4-6 weeks of free play and exploration in the block corner. During this time the teacher should monitor each student to determine their understanding of stacking blocks starting from the bottom and building up as well as their behavior in the area. The attached checklist may be used for monitoring and evaluation. It may be helpful also to find a parent or older student to assist. During the exploration period read stories which treat houses or other buildings as subject matter or have pictures of them. Throughout the year exhibit posters or pictures of buildings near the block corner. They can be found in magazines, calendars and newspapers. Ask the librarian.