|Stand for Kindle Fire HD|
Last night I was reading through a small portion of the Paradise of Childhood that described the use of Froebel's 3rd gift, which consisted of a small cube box, with sliding top and was filled with 8 smaller cubes, which together stacked to form a perfect cube. The description and editor's notes on how the gift would be used in the classroom show a remarkable depth of analysis and illustrate the even more remarkable genius of Friedrich Froebel. It was a thing he acquired by watching the development of children... not by statistical analysis, which seems to be the only tool used by educational experts today.
|Simple to make with wood and dowels.|
The second set of occupations with Gift 3 was to use the blocks to further the exploration of form and mathematics begun in the earlier gifts. Dividing and rearranging the smaller cubes from the larger gave the child an understanding of fractions, counting, and early math. These days, kids are given larger and larger sets of blocks and of Legos, without ever taking advantage of the potential they offer for the early exploration of math. The description in Paradise of Childhood of how the blocks were used to develop an understanding of fractions is fascinating.
The third occupation involved the arrangement and placement of the smaller cubes on a grid laid out as a permanent part of the Kindergarten table. By arranging the cubes, graphic forms offering a sense of beauty and symmetry were laid out. These shapes actually formed the child's introduction to drawing, and imparted a sense of order and control to the child's mind.
These three basic occupations could be applied to any of the gifts, as they imparted a sense of relationship to life, the development of intelligence in geometry and math, and the child's sense of beauty and form.
When the lessons involving the gifts were done for the day, each fit neatly into its special box, teaching the child responsibility in the use of his or her tools of learning.
Can you see the depth of learning involved? Can you see that we've come a long way since the first Kindergarten, and that very little of our progress was in the right direction? We did the same stupid thing to manual arts in schools. We made wood shops the place of choice to dump kids who weren't thought to be going anywhere, forgetting that the making of real things of useful beauty, was essential to the development of character and intellect for all kids.
Today we are hoping for cold. If the temperature on Thursday in Arkansas is very cold, we'll get snow rather than ice when the confluence of bitter cold and Gulf moisture hits the area on Thursday. My students in wood shop made toy cars and helped me to design and make a stand for a Kindle Fire that will be given away in a school raffle.
Make, fix and create...