Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale and block play in preschool

Today, the children were exploring the fairy tale – The Three Billy Goats Gruff – through their play in the block center.

The teacher set out some blue tissue paper next to the block center and a few plastic goats. The teacher invited the children to see if they could make their own bridges across the water for the goats to cross over…

The bridge building started off a little slow at first. Most of the children went off to try other centers that were available in the room…

I kept an eye out to see if we would have any takers and after a bit we certainly did. One child started which grabbed the attention of another child, then another, and before long we had an entire bridge-building crew…

The children had to rebuild their bridges often because they discovered that to get the goats to cross the bridge – some reconstruction and reinforcement would be necessary. Well, of course, those are my words – not theirs. The children just worked by trial and error…

I noticed that the billy goat ended up pinned up at some point…

And I am not sure what the plan was here but it is pretty cool…

In the book titled, “Basics of Developmentally Appropriate Practice,” Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp state:

“In everything good teachers do — from setting up the classroom to assessing children to planning the curriculum — they are intentional. Teachers are purposeful and thoughtful about the actions they take…”.

This teacher was intentional in her planning today. She added the tissue paper and goats to the block center to integrate the fairy tale the children had read earlier in the day. As the teacher observed the children, she was able to see their ability to recall the story, to retell the story, and to expand the story into their own ideas.

See this fun little Hickory Dickory Dock Clock!

Hooking up with The Play Academy.

By |2010-09-09T06:00:29+00:00September 9th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Rosana September 9, 2010 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Lovely ideas!!!!
    Hugs from Brazil

  2. meghan September 9, 2010 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Love this activity!

  3. katherinemarie September 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Wonderful statement about being intentional. So true— for every part of life— being intentional with our parenting, kindness, faith… THANKs for that reminder!

  4. katepickle September 10, 2010 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Fabulous point about being ‘intentional’… I think often people look at a play based curriculu, and think ‘the teachers don’t do anything, the kids just play’…. but this really explains well how much work a teach does to facilitate the play and learning.

    • Christie - Childhood 101 September 13, 2010 at 8:21 am - Reply

      I completely agree Kate, it is sad but true that people just so often do not understand. Hopefully we can keep plugging away with this message to educate society about the role of playful learning.

  5. amandab September 10, 2010 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Love building with my daughter and trying different things to see how they work. Children are much better at the re-thinking part than us older brains 🙂

    We do the blocks on the rollers thing too, but for us it is usually a train 🙂

  6. Marita September 10, 2010 at 6:29 am - Reply

    That is fantastic. Great encouraging of problem solving 🙂

  7. Tami September 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I love how you brought the story to a whole different life in the block area. A great way for the children to recall the story to their friends.

  8. Renee Ernsting October 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Debra,
    I have been thoroughly enjoying your posts and have been recommending them to teachers I work with. This is a great example of intentional teaching and I’m wondering if I can use it for a training I am doing. I would cut and paste the information right from the blog and give the blog url. What do you think?

    Renee Ernsting
    Child Care Partnership Resource & Referral
    418 Wisconsin Street
    Eau Claire, WI 54703
    (715) 836-7511 ext. 186

    • Deborah J. Stewart October 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Hi Renee,
      It would be my pleasure to have you share these ideas in your training sessions. Thank you for asking:)

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