Monday, June 29, 2015
Originally, Kindergarten was about more than getting ready to read and take standardized tests.
Froebel's Kindergarten was a time and place in which children were introduced to the various occupations that formed the basis of culture and community. By using hands, held in the manner shown at the top of the illustration, the child might grasp a sense of his or her own creative capacity.
One of my favorite illustrations from Mother Play is that of the Charcoal burner. The hands form the image of the woods stacked for the fire, and the shape of the charcoal burner's crude hut. Shown also, are scenes that illustrate the importance of the charcoal burner's work... in the warmth of the home and of the blacksmith forging iron. One of the elements of Kindergarten that was picked up by advocates of educational sloyd... creating a sense of the dignity of all labor.
We seem to have ceased to adequately celebrate craftsmanship and community in American culture. The solution lies in the exercise of our hands in the creation of useful beauty.
Make, fix and create...