Building Bridges to Understanding in a Preschool Classroom: Morning in the Block Center
Weeks earlier scenes in the block center looked much different. Children wandered in and out of the area, playing without a clear purpose and rarely for any sustained period of time. When Ms. Lisa introduced the design process used by engineers—a methodical, creative, and recursive approach for problem solving—the block center was transformed into a child-centered hub of collaborative play.
An explosion of research in neuroscience and other developmental sciences shows us that the basic architecture of a child’s brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues through adulthood. Like the construction of a home, the building process begins with laying the foundation, framing the rooms, and wiring the electrical system in a predictable sequence. Early experiences literally shape how the brain gets built. A strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes. A weak one will require remedial education, clinical treatment, or other interventions that are less effective and more costly than providing crucial brain-building interactions early in life.
Imagine a supermarket where goods are arranged alphabetically, where a single aisle displays everything from lemons to light bulbs to liver! Most of us would find it difficult to shop for what we need in such a store. Fortunately, grocers arrange products into sensible and familiar categories that make shopping easy....