« Six More States Sign On to Help Craft New Science Standards | Main | A Primer on the Common Assessments »

Forget Block Scheduling, Here Comes Block-Building 101

When I was a kid, I would often make a huge mess of my bedroom when I pulled a set of hefty wooden building blocks in various shapes and sizes out of the toy box. I spent hours toiling away on construction projects with these blocks (which are not to be confused with the small square blocks that nestle in your palm). Well, according to The New York Times, these blocks are back in style.

A story published the other day reports on "a renewed faith in unit blocks—those basic, indestructible wooden toys created in the early 1900s—sweeping through some elite swaths of New York's education universe." It notes that while many "progressive" private and public schools have long sworn by blocks, "more traditional institutions are now refocusing on block centers amid worries that academic pressure and technology are squeezing play out of young children's lives."

Studies dating to the 1940s, the story notes, indicate that blocks help children absorb basic math concepts. And a 2007 study found that those with block experience scored significantly better on language acquisition tests.

Trusting that EdWeek surely at some point had taken a look at this phenomenon, I did a quick check of the archives. Sure enough, here's a big takeout on teaching with unit blocks, published in 1989 on edweek.org's Teacher channel.

Back to the Times story, it suggests that "perhaps the hottest pitch of late, particularly to high-stress, high-strung New York City parents is that blocks can build the 21st-century skills essential to success in corporate America."

Watch out corporate America, here I come!

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Linda: My problem with homework is they give too much and read more
  • Seo Article Writer: Hello I just see your site when I am searching read more
  • Car Insurance Guy: Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. read more
  • cyptoreopully: Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im read more
  • Connie Wms: Good grief. We have gone round and round forever with read more