Material Realm

The stones allow us to experience storytelling with all of our senses. They have a strong and almost eternal physical presence and history. They were around long before we were, and will be around long after we have gone. 

Children I have worked with on stonework projects, particularly Stonework Play, seem to develop a special relationship with me. This bears out what the late international infant specialist Magda Gerber describes as the “wants nothing “ observer, someone who wants nothing more than what the child wants to share. That is truly showing respect to the child, and enhances the child's self-esteem.


Tower by Lidia

Lidia is seen throughout this extended session positioning her stones with fine motor dexterity. Primarily, she uses her thumb and third finger to coordinate the stones with her left hand. Her pointer finger stays upright. Lidia’s grasping abilities seem to improve with time. She would squeal with joy when the smaller stones stayed balanced on the larger shining stone, two on top of each other.

Even when the stones fell, she diligently would try to balance them, over and over again. At one point she successfully balanced four stones — a feat difficult for any adult, particularly with slippery, polished stones. Lidia worked for the entire 40-minute period, totally engaged. In her final piece, the stones are strategically arranged, heavy upon light, to create a cave with a window above.

Lidia was happy, of course, when the stones stayed in place, but she wasn't sad when they fell; she just fixed it. Like riding a bike, falling down, and getting up again, Stonework Play can serve as another great preparation for life. 



Babies Know bestInfant Knows Best                                                                                   The same stones will have different meanings for each child

Very young children have the right to experience nature by interacting with the stones. The stones provided were large enough so they couldn’t be swallowed.

Notice how this child picked up the stones, one in each hand and then hit them together making a noise. She proceeded to do it over and over. It is important to observe with care. Although this child is very young, she has her own varied interpretation of the stones.

Even though she is at the early stage of language acquisition and fine motor development, it is clear to see the meaningfulness she is contributing to her own Stonework Play






Gathering Stones

Gathering StonesThis child wanted to move the stones she collected. She worked very hard in gathering the stones. She chose one or two stones at a time and placed them into her green smock by picking up her hem and using it as a pocket.  She truly interacted with the environment and used her dress as a prop. She repeated this two times gathering more stones.