297 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Caroline Pratt & Block Play

PS staff members Yvette, Gabby, and Sanny in front of the Caroline Pratt mansion in Brooklyn!
Why were these PS Family staff members so excited when they spotted the Caroline Ladd Pratt Mansion on their way to visit a network provider?

Caroline Pratt developed teaching methods that focused on play.

Pratt was influenced by Froebel’s kindergarten philosophy that suggested that children’s play and activity were central to their individual growth and development.

Her philosophy of teaching was based on the children’s interests, and through play she allowed them to learn experimentally through their experiences in their immediate environments.

Pratt rejected the idea of a fixed curriculum and allowed children to freely choose their play projects. She filled the classroom with play materials such as blocks and loose parts.

Pratt has been credited for developing the wooden unit blocks, similar to the blocks used by Froebel.

Froebel (1782-1852) and Pratt (1867-1954) each therefore developed a theory which supported the importance of children learning through active engagement in meaningful play.

Caroline Pratt (May 13, 1867 – June 6, 1954[1] ) was an American social thinker and progressive educational reformer whose ideas were influential in educational reform, policy, and practice.

Pratt is known as the founder of City and Country School in the Greenwich Village section of the borough of Manhattan in New York City; the inventor of unit blocks;[3][4][5] and as the author of I Learn from Children (HarperCollins, 1948; rereleased in 1990; republished by Grove Atlantic in May 2014; released as a free audiobook in 2018 through Audible), an autobiographical account of her life and educational experiments, philosophies and practices. Pratt’s specific style of progressive education, focused on first-hand experiences, open-ended materials, and social studies, has been cited and described by figures as noted as John Dewey[6] and the architect and playground designer David Rockwell.[7] Her original vision endures at City and Country School, which she founded in 1914 in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.[8][9]