Thursday, December 24, 2009

enthusiasm of the young

Things seem to skip along in generations, and I had the pleasure last night of spending a few minutes in conversation with a former student who now lives in Portland and is studying art. It was very nice to be in the company of one whose artistic talents I had helped to encourage. Hillary expresses such eloquence and enthusiasm for things like texture and the subtleties of letter press. She tells of the friend she taught to turn on the lathe, and her life among other lovers of art and fine craft. The photo above is from Hillary's senior year in the Clear Spring School woodshop.

And so we know that the wisdom of the hands is alive and always will be. The hands are hardwired at the center of the human experience. The question is a matter of: "When will we will take best advantage of who we are?" Do we use our full human resources to engage children in learning and making and for their discovery of their human capacities or do we use schools to suppress our natural human inclinations to touch and to make? Early educators, like Comenius, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Salomon, Dewey and so many others realized that hands-on creativity was necessary as central to the school experience. They proposed the strategic implementation of children's hands in learning and making. But it seems that vital bit of information skipped a couple generations. You and I can help to remind.

I want to congratulate John Grossbohlin for completing his annual Christmas gift project in time for the finish to dry. His beautiful trays were inspired by one he made in Junior high school when woodworking was thought to be vital to every young man's education.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

See? We do make a difference, even if we don't always know about it.

Mario

Doug Stowe said...

Mario, it always means a lot to see old students and to learn that your time together meant what you intended.