In The New York Times, Kyle Spencer writes With Blocks, Educators Go Back to Basics:

As in fashion, old things often come back in style in education. The Parents League workshop reflects a renewed faith in unit blocks — those basic, indestructible wooden toys created in the early 1900s — sweeping through some elite swaths of New York’s education universe. While many progressive private and public schools have long sworn by blocks, more traditional institutions are now refocusing on block centers amid worries that academic pressure and technology are squeezing play out of young children’s lives.

As I told Spencer when she called me for research for this article, nowadays Manhattan and Brooklyn parents strongly prefer that private schools teach hard math skills.  At the same time, with the rise in technology, parents feel nostalgic for retro pleasures.  Blocks, whether in school or in new Imagination Playgrounds, appeal to parents on both levels.

Another recent Times article by Matt Richtel, A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute, also chronicles the rise in hands-on, learning-by-doing education.  The California Waldorf school chronicled in the article subscribes to a no-screen policy–way too radical at this point for most New York City families.