1-4 | Knowledge under Construction: The Importance of Play in Developing Children's Spatial and Geometric Thinking

Book Review

Knowledge under Construction: The Importance of Play in Developing Children's Spatial and Geometric Thinking

Daniel Ness and Stephen J. Farenga
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007. References, diagrams, charts, tables, illustrations. 257 pp. $32.95 paper. ISBN: 9780742547896

by Jenifer Thornton

First Paragraph:

In an era when tensions between developmentally appropriate early-childhood practices and the push for rigid academic goals exist, many early childhood educators are placed in the position of having to defend the importance of play. This book is significant for educators, parents, and researchers in that it underscores the value of informal and unstructured play with blocks in the development of mathematical conceptual understanding. We need to know about how block play contributes to the development of mathematical and scientific thinking if we are going to successfully advocate for play-based learning. This book brings attention to the types of geometric, spatial, and architectural understanding exhibited by children during free play with blocks and to the materials and environments that encourages mathematical thinking and activity. It provides a useful context through which educators working with young children can defend block play, and it offers conclusive evidence in support of unstructured free-play practices in the development of mathematical thinking. These are important findings that buttress the instructional goals of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for young learners.