I visited a preschool couple of days back, something I do as an education consultant. While I was observing a free play session, I saw a little boy in the construction corner trying to build a tower. He had some big and small blocks at his disposal. Initially he tried to use the small blocks (cubes) as part of the base of the tower, but he couldn’t build a tall tower on small blocks. Later he tried placing the cubes next to each other, I think he was trying to create a broad base for his tower, but that too didn’t get him the results he was after. He then placed the cubes in the middle of the tower. The tower stood tall for couple of seconds and crashed! Finally, he
figured it out and stacked the small blocks at the top of the
tower! One important thing I must mention here is that, his teacher kept encouraging him throughout the process. She kept appreciating his efforts and every time the tower fell she would say, “Ok, so now we know we need to work on our design. Let’s try and stack the blocks differently this time!”
Though he was met with failure several times, he didn’t give up! He kept trying different formations till he got a tall tower! He kept trying because he had an adult telling him that it was alright to fail, you will get your tall tower as long as you keep learning from your experience.
We know that the value of block play in child development is immense.
Children learn math concepts such as colour, shape, size and balance. Their creativity and imagination are channelized thorough block play. Block play allows for self-expression. Children learn to problem solve, they learn to share and cooperate with other children. Block play build’s children’s confidence and enhances their motor skills. The list of benefits is long.
Block play also build’s resilience. Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’. It is the ability to pick self-up after a loss or failure and carry on. Resilience is a kind of a super power that all humans, big and
little need to succeed in this world. Invariably, while building a tower or a castle children will meet with failure. Their structures will collapse and they will be at the crossroad; try one more time or give up.
For sure there are several inner strengths that are required to build resilience such as self-control, thinking
skills, positive outlook towards life, and active participation. However, outside support during early years too can help build resilience. Resilience is an attitude, something that can be cultivated. The best time to develop this attitude is in the early years. As preschool teachers we can do many things to help children build resilience.
A positive and caring relationship between child and adult is very important for building resilience. In the above scenario, the teacher truly believed in the child’s ability to build a tower. She knew that e
ventually he will figure out a way to get his tall tower.
She provided the positive role model child needed to cultivate resilience. She acknowledged t
he fault in design, she pointed out the need for alteration and she conveyed to the child that patience with self is a vi
rtue. She didn’t insist on getting it right the first time, this conveyed to the child that imperfections are part of life.
The child knew that his teacher was his support. He knew he could turn to her for help. Being able
to reach out and ask for help are very important for building resilience too.
So, next time you are in the block corner and little hands are busy building tall towers and fancy castles, remember it is an opportunity for you to build resilience in them.
PreschoolGuru Education Consultancy