Tuesday, November 11, 2014

manual training and Kindergarten

The following is from the Paradise of Childhood, Quarter Century Edition, 1896, editor's notes, page 165,
"The natural foundation for a mathematical and scientific education which the kindergarten lays is an important element to aid in the production of more expert and accurate workmen in any manual occupation, and will tend to cultivate a more accurate and practical conception of everyday experiences. The manual training exhibit sent from Russia to Philadelphia in 1876 began the evolution of a practical system of manual training in this country, and the corresponding exhibition of the kindergarten work and material, with the first practical kindergarten guide in the the English language, was equally a forerunner in of the kindergarten in America, which today stands well in advance of the work in all other parts of the world, while its possibilities can as yet be only imagined. Twenty years ago America was at a great industrial disadvantage in comparison with older nations, because her artisans lacked the scientific and art education which was afforded the workmen of other countries. This defect is rapidly being overcome in the establishment of industrial schools, through the liberal donations of some of our capitalists and the general progress of our public school officials along the same lines."
I believe that while the full developmental powers of kindergarten were never realized in the US due to having cut the Kindergarten period from three years down to one, and having crowded far too many children into a classrooms with a single teacher at the same time, the rise of kindergartens in America had a profound effect. The manipulation of objects in kindergarten classes may have built the body and soul of craftsmanship and design in America, enabling us to win WWII and proceed to become an industrialized power.

Today in the wood shop at Clear Spring School, our elementary school students will be making angels for a Christmas display in the city parks. Our middle school students are so deeply engrossed in our new sloyd knives, they cannot be pulled away.

Make, fix and create...

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