Blankets and Beds: Learning Story 9/12/18

Hello Tot Lot!

I’m excited to share with you our first learning story in the preschool classroom.

Our hope is that through these pieces of documentation, you’ll get a snapshot into how we implement, explore, expand, and reflect in our classroom everyday and value the child as the protagonist in their learning.

Each member of the team will be sharing a wide array of learning stories with you, and display them in the classroom for our whole community to visit. We are a strength-based and diverse team, so every learning story will feature moments that the are meaningful to the individual teachers to observe, document, and celebrate.

This learning story focuses on our preschoolers abilities to problem solve socially, scaffold and support peers, exercise spatial reasoning, experiment and troubleshoot, and engage their imaginations and creativity.

Please share any comments or questions! Happy Wednesday! Daniel (Preschool Teacher)


Some of the most important features in our classroom are open-ended materials. They encourage and invite children to imagine and interpret in a myriad of ways.

While we were redesigning our classroom during our Work Week, the preschool teachers intentionally stocked the back classroom with hollow blocks, wood rounds, and pieces of fabric of various lengths. Our class last year was fascinated with animals, habitats, and caves. What would this class want to explore?

On the third day of our school year, while Nell was saying goodbye to her family, Maddy invited her to make a bed.  The two friends gathered some blocks and blankets, then set to work.

They began by laying out several long blocks flat on the ground. Nell explained her process, “You do it just like this. You need big blocks!”

Maddy agreed, observing, “It needs to be long!”

Maddy and Nell were challenging themselves to make each of their beds the same. Soon, their plan of using long blocks ran into the first obstacle: they ran out of long blocks!

They experimented with using short square blocks, using them to recompose the longer rectangular shapes they needed. Problem solved!

After finishing the flat sections of their beds, the two friends started building vertical parts on the sides of their beds.

I wondered what they were, and Maddy combined the position (side) and job (stabilize) of the block to explain, “This is a ‘side-a-lizer’ so we don’t fall off.”

At this point, the two friends deviated from their original challenge of making two exact beds. They each worked in parallel without much conversation.

When they were finished, the two children took a moment to look at their own beds before checking out what each other had built. Comparing the designs, Maddy realized, “It’s similar” and Nell recognized, “But a little different.”

Next came the second obstacle. The beds were so amazing that many more friends wanted to join the bed-making play now. How could the play be shared with everyone?

Tiago, Elena Sky, and Willa approached the beds and began taking apart the side-a-lizers to reuse and create their own beds. At first Maddy and Nell were very strong in their opinion. Maddy explained to the newly arrived children, “We made these beds and they’re ours to play with.”

I explained to Nell and Maddy that they were expert bed-makers and that Tiago, Elena Sky, and Willa wanted to make their own beds, but weren’t sure the process. I encouraged and invited Maddy and Nell to demonstrate and guide the other children.

Watching Maddy and Nell assisting Tiago, Elena, and Willa prompted more preschoolers to join and build together. Julian and Maya entered the play, and the whole group of children realized that you could make beds out of long blocks, round blocks, ramps, anything!