Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today in the wood shop...

I have been working toward this point for days, getting products ready to assemble and sand so that holiday orders can be filled. I navigate between days at school and time in my own shop, sometimes doing a bit of time in each. The following is from the Paradise of Childhood, Quarter Century Edition, 1907 published by Milton Bradley:
"Free invention, creating, is the culminating point of mental independence. We lead the child to this eminence by degrees. Sometimes accident has led to invention and production of the new, but Froebel has provided a systematically graded method by which infancy may at once start upon the road to this eminent aim of inventing.

If the full consciousness, the clear conception of its aim is at first wanting, it is prepared by every step onward. The objects present and the material employed, afford the child, under the guidance of a mature mind, the alphabet of art, as well as that of knowledge, and it is worth while there to remark that history shows that art comes before science in all human development." (emphasis mine)
Testing of children has revealed a rapid decline in measurable creativity commencing their first days of school.

It seems that teachers and schools prefer quiet, measurably intelligent kids, to creative and potentially disruptive ones, and that the system is designed to advance one kind of child and squelch the other.

As we watch our decline from the smartest toward among the dumbest of all nations, we can point to our schools as the reason why. But can you imagine a system of education that fosters children's creativity, that recognizes that their meaningful introduction to science must be derived from the arts, and that children are at their best when they are inventing? Friedrich Froebel did that. With his guidance we too, can imagine schooling in which the hands are at the center of learning and children become instruments in the creation of useful beauty.

Alfie Kohn posted a dozen essential guidelines for educators that go along the lines of what you read here.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Thanks for the links. It is really interesting reading those thoughts.


  2. Somehow, the way schools work reminds me of a line from a song: "All in all you're just another brick in the wall."