Friday, March 28, 2014

teachers in the wood shop.

Gift number one, ready for learning, ready for play
Today I invited our teachers to work with me in the wood shop, making Froebel gifts one and 3. It was a chance to talk about Froebel and the origins of progressive education, and also to address the mission of our school and educational method while doing a hands-on learning project, true to the school's mission. I took advantage of one of our teacher's expertise in crochet to get instruction in making Froebel's gift number one which consists of 6 small colored balls in a box with sliding lid. These simple toys were used with infants to stimulate interest and play while in the parent's lap. After all, Kindergarten was not invented to me merely the child's first year of school. It was a direct invitation to the parents to begin as the child's first teachers.

Kindergarten was a whole developmental time period from 3 months to 8 years of age, in which interactive play was the primary focus of education and child development.

Now of course Kindergarten is no special time in the lives of children as it was originally intended. Instead, it is the time that kids learn to fill bubbles on standardized tests, so that they can prove to the world that they've been taught while learning to sit and stay.

I am grateful to teach at a school that knows the difference.

Today our upper elementary school teacher said, "This is the first time I've made a box." At one time the skills to crochet and to make small useful objects was widespread, and children would have acquired these skills from their earliest days and at home. Froebel had recognized that mothers and fathers could become best equipped to instruct at the earliest ages. Their's was a sacred task.

Make, fix and create...

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