Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bringing construction to life in the classroom!

Hello everyone!

I've had a lot of inquiries about the construction station in Aistear over the past few days so I thought I'd put a post together on it.

Firstly, this is a station that allows for SO much independent exploration, creativity and use of language. Every day is different, and it's wonderful to watch their little imaginations take over!

We were fortunate enough to be allowed to invest in some sets of Jaggo Blocks this year....they're pricey but oh boy are they worth it.


I have a few valuable tips that I thought I'd share with you -  they make my life a LOT easier when using the blocks during play:

1. Bring a PE gymnastics mat or two into the room, or put down some of those foam floor mats (they're quite reasonable in Argos!). This seriously reduces the amount of noise when there's a demolition - which is helpful if you have any little ears who are sensitive to noise!

2. Order a storage trolley with the blocks, I recommend this as it is on wheels and can be easily wheeled to other rooms if necessary! If anything, watch your back - they weigh a tonne when stacked!

3. For optimal play, I'd advise getting the full set of blocks. Honestly, you will need it for groups of 4+. You can add even more to it as time goes on....but go easy, you also want to avoid giving your principal a heart attack with the cost!!

4. Teach the children how to put them away. The first few times I shooed the children away and tried to do it myself - it's a logistical nightmare! Code the trays so the children know what shapes to put into which tray and you'll be amazed at how quickly they can do it! (Bringing your 3D shape recognition into practice too #integration !!)

5. I mark out my construction area with cones - this stops constructions taking over the whole lovely as this would be, I need room for 3 other stations at the same time!

6. Protective clothing! Yes believe it or not, hard hats and hi-vis vests are a feature of my construction zone! It started off just as a means of encouraging them to get into role, but the little hard hats are actually handy when you have a group of five year olds building towers with wooden blocks!

7. Bring other materials into the zone! Bring in the cars, the figurines, animals and even junk art. Shoe boxes and old plastic spools work a treat for raising their towers or supporting their bridges!

8. Shop around. We invested in the Jaggo Blocks and they are fabulous but there are several other companies now around Ireland and the UK that make them too for competitive prices!
*OR maybe you might have a parent or a contact for a carpenter who might be interested in making a set for you? I have heard of several schools who have opted for this option!*

9. Involve everyone! Aistear doesn't just have to be for infants, imagine the creations the older classes could come up with if provided with the chance to 'play'. The possibilities are endless!

10. Take photos! You won't have time every day, but taking a few snaps a week and throwing them up on the whiteboard is a wonderful way of recapping on play and leads to great discussion! Also guarantees great pride of their constructions!

Below are two sites where you can avail of a variety of fabulous wooden blocks for construction in the classroom!

I hope this is helpful!

Over & out!



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