Grant holder
Jennifer Gilchrist, Dalreoch Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Centre
Project status

A collaborative research project exploring the role of block play in developing children's vocabulary.

The team at Dalreoch Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Centre, a play based P1 setting near Glasgow in Scotland, used a Froebel Trust action research grant to introduce a new block play area. The educators involved in this action research project provided children with "unhurried blocks of time in which to play with the blocks".

Project summary

  • Narrative observations and learning stories were collected to show development over time.
  • Drawing and writing materials were be incorporated into the block play environment - in order to encourage children to write and draw about their symbolic play with blocks.
  • Children shared record keeping in a floor book dedicated to block play. This encouraged discussion and reflection on learning.

"We observed immediate and noticeable changes in both the depth and breadth of children’s communication and language skills whilst they played with the blocks." Jennifer Gilchrist, project leader

The block play project in action

"We observed an increase in reciprocal conversation and concentration; children began to wallow in their play for longer periods of time. We observed an increase in mark making and children using their individual floor books to document their own learning through photographs and writing." Jennifer Gilchrist, project leader

We have achieved a complete transformation of the learning environment, from a ‘traditional’ approach to child-led and play-based.

Jennifer Gilchrist

"The overall lesson from our project was that block play has a huge role to play in children’s communication and language development." Jennifer Gilchrist, project leader

Contact: Dalreoch Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Centre

Final project report - March 2023