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Block Building is Mind Building

At Stevens, block-building is the key to interdisciplinary learning from PreK 3 through 2nd grade. Students learn on multiple levels as they move from stacking and balancing blocks in the Early Childhood program to the creation of intricate structures that represent knowledge attained from in-depth studies conducted in 2nd grade. The program provides the means for children to explore and demonstrate their understanding of their immediate environment, the world around them and the intricacies of their surroundings. Students are given the opportunity to express their understanding of their social and physical worlds while fostering skills in negotiation, cooperation and collaborative problem-solving. Blocks cultivate open-ended learning, allowing young students the freedom to be creative in their inquiries, explorations and collaborations.

When our graduates talk about what they did at Stevens, they often start with the moment they first worked with blocks to build something meaningful. They give students a sense of freedom — and they give our teachers a thousand ways to practice foundational skills and engage with foundational knowledge. As students grow, the connections between their block buildings and the real world become more concrete. In 2nd grade, students grapple with the question of how and why cities change over time. Using the Brooklyn Bridge as a case study, they examine its engineering and construction and its impact on the culture and economy of the city. After traveling to see the bridge in person, they use all the skills they’ve learned during their time at Stevens to reconstruct the bridge in their classroom over several weeks: the capstone of the block-building experience.

The blocks program incorporates multiple areas of learning and development. Some of the skills that block-building promotes include: