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The NC PAT Network is pleased to bring Block Fest™ to North Carolina! A natural question at this point is: What is Block Fest? Block Fest™ NC is a traveling, research-based exhibit that will raise awareness of early math and science learning by offering 'hands on' block play experiences to families with young children. Parents, preschool teachers and the larger community will also become knowledgeable of the importance of early math and science learning as it impacts both school readiness and later math success. Block Fest™ was created by the University of Idaho Parents as Teachers Demonstration Project. Please explore the links below to learn more about this innovative and fun exhibit.
Parents as Teachers is an early childhood home visiting program that offers education and support to help parents be their child's best first teacher. The North Carolina Parents As Teachers Network believes Block Fest™ NC is an important initiative bringing awareness to the area of early math and science learning and the significant role of parent education to school readiness.
At Block Fest™ NC parents learn about early math and science concepts and that early math learning is a strong predictor for school readiness.
Parents discover how they can help their children learn early math and science concepts while they play with blocks through guided play and conversation with exhibit volunteers.
Block Fest™ also educates the larger community, through media opportunities, about the importance of early math and science learning.
The content and organization of the Block Fest exhibit was developed after months of research by the University of Idaho Parents as Teachers Demonstration Project. Please see Supporting Research for summaries of this research, and resources developed specifically for Block Fest™ from this research.
Block Fest™ is for all parents and their children who are age 8 months to 8 years old and is accessible to special needs children and Spanish Speaking families.
Parents learn about Block Fest™ NC through PAT, Head Start, or other early childhood partner programs.
Parents pre-register for the event. Each session can facilitate up to 35 children, with accompanying parent or adult caregiver.
The Block Fest™ exhibit consists of 5 different block stations.
Parents and children spend 10 minutes playing at a block station. Upon signal, parents and children clean up their block station and move to the next area. Station facilitators guide this process. The entire time in the exhibit is 1 hour.
Information about how children learn math and science concepts is offered at each station by facilitators and by reading informational exhibit pieces.
Parents receive a take-home booklet, Playing and Learning with Blocks!, written by Block Fest™ developers. This booklet brings the Block Fest exhibit home.
Parents complete a brief evaluation at the end of the exhibit. In addition, a web-based evaluation is available for parents to complete for 2 months after attending the exhibit.
University of Idaho survey results show that:
Mathematics Education for Young Children: What It is and How to Promote It Social Policy Report, 22, 1-23, (2008) by Herbert P. Ginsburg, Joon Sun Lee, and Judi Stevenson Boyd
Early Math Skills - Building Blocks for the Future (2008) by Harriet Shaklee, Ph.D., Patricia O’Hara, M. S., Diane Demarest, M.Ed.
School Readiness and Later Achievement Developmental Psychology, 43 (2007) by Duncan, G., Dowsett, C., et el – 6 longitudinal studies looking at key predictors of school readiness.
Block Activities for Developing Emergent Numeracy Skills © University of Idaho