Blocks and Beyond: Strengthening Early Math and Science Skills Through Spatial Learning

Author: Mary Jo Pollman Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 200 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598571011
Price: $32.95

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Spatial development should be part of every young child's education—it's linked with higher achievement not just in math and science, but across all academic areas. Now early childhood educators have a guidebook to help them seamlessly integrate spatial learning into their everyday curriculum.

Focusing on areas key to academic success—math, science, art and literature, and social studies—early childhood expert Mary Jo Pollman gives teachers research-based insights and ready-to-use activities for promoting children's spatial development throughout the school day. Developed for use with children in preschool through third grade, this innovative teacher training resource

  • Aligns with key focal points specified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Math Panel Report, and the National Science Education Standards
  • Helps children progress in specific areas where U.S. students are falling behind—particularly geometry and geography
  • Improves teacher quality—helps them plan a successful, well-rounded curriculum with creative, age-appropriate activities
  • Strengthens the home-school learning connection with suggestions for games that parents and children can do together
  • Uses easy-to-find materials—shows how to improve spatial skills with everyday items like blocks, play dough, puzzles, globes, and objects found in nature
  • Is fully supported by the latest research and highly respected educational theories, clearly explained throughout the book so teachers know the why behind the how
  • Provides a foundation for later success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields

A great inservice professional development resource and an essential text for preservice teachers, this book is key to creating a curriculum that actively promotes spatial development and sets the stage for strong math, science, and other academic skills.


Review: Teaching Children Mathematics

"A distinctive feature of the book is the descriptive vignettes, which enliven important aspects of spatial development . . . strengths of the book include the ease with which it can be read, the usefulness of the cross-curricular activities, the depth of the current research used to support the need for the development of spatial literacy skills in young children, and the practicality of the contents. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in giving young children experiences necessary and beneficial for developing spatial literacy."

Review by: Douglas Llewellyn, NSTA Recommends

"In the September 2010 issue of NSTA Reports, NSTA President Alan J. McCormack made imagination, invention, and innovation the key theme of his presidential term. Pollman's Blocks and Beyond serves well to promote this vital initiative."

Review by: Norman Brosterman, author, Inventing Kindergarten

"A welcome bridge between Friedrich Froebel's nature-based pedagogy and important trends in contemporary, kinesthetic, learning research."

Review by: Scott Bultman, President, FroebelUSA, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"A compelling case for block play and spatial literacy as necessary skills for the 21st century workforce."

Review by: Rosalind Charlesworth, Professor Emerita, Weber State University, Ogden, UT

"Very timely . . . provides the conceptual underpinnings for the current interest in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the early childhood and elementary levels. A valuable resource for teachers."

Review by: Linda Adams, Executive Director, Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, Highlands Ranch, Colorado

"A wonderful resource for teachers and parents of young children to encourage the love of learning—especially in math—and weave spatial development throughout all curriculum areas."

Table of Contents

About the Author
About the Contributor

I. Theoretical Background

  1. An Overview of Research on Spatial Development
  2. A Curriculum that Promoted Spatial Development: Friedrich Froebel, a Trained Architect and Mathematician

II. Spatial Development Throughout the Curriculum

  1. Spatial Development and Math
  2. Spatial Development and Art and Literature
  3. Spatial Development and Social Studies
  4. Spatial Development and Science
    Sandra Phifer
  5. Spatial Relationships and Technology
  6. Where Are All the Blocks?
  7. Innovation and Spatial Development in the Future


A. Using the Froebelian Gifts to Promote Further Mathematical Knowledge
B. Grids Provide an Organizational Scheme for Studying Shape and Form
C. Vocabulary and Spatial Activities
D. Games and Activities
E. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Prekindergarten Through Grade 2 Curriculum Focal Points and Connections
F. Literature, Readings, and Resources

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