I'll also teach my usual week-long box making class but only once this summer.
Before Froebel invented Kindergarten he laid out his basic principles in a book called,"the Education of Man." He was about 46 years old when the book was published, and was a skilled teacher and administrator, and while the book did better in sales after his death, it did a god job of laying out some of the principles Froebel applied to profound effect in Kindergarten. According to H. Courthop Bowen in Froebel and Education Through Self-Activity:
...since education has largely to do with inducing the right acquirement of knowledge and the right use of knowledge, the task of the educator must largely consist in bringing out and making clear, and maintaining the connectedness of facts and things.But connectedness was not only to be seen in externally organized facts, but also in the integration of the child into the learning environment. This was accomplished through self-activity and creativeness.
Yesterday in the wood shop we had visitors, Roger and Donn who were traveling through from Louisiana to Minnesota. My students were so deeply engaged in their work, that if one had been curious about what Froebel's term self-activity meant, it would be clear. My students worked confidently, and cleaned up on cue. So you can imagine why I might be proud of them and their work. I was concerned however that my students were too busy at their work, and not as observant as I hoped they might be of the effects of their work.
Work in school is not going through empty motions. H. Courthope Bowen noted of Froebel's system:
...the young should gradually and continuously come to feel and to see that laws underlie all organic formation, and that conformity with those laws is the fundamental, unvarying condition of all true every-sided development towards perfection––in other things first, and then in themselves; while gardening and the care of animals should, in addition to this also make labor a pleasure and a duty. So again, when using art as an instrument of his system, he does not undertake to form artists, but seeks to awaken the ideal side of human nature, and to produce in the young a feeling and a perception that in all beauty there is a perfection of the thing after its own kind––another experience of the law and harmony.Make, fix, create, and encourage others to teach likewise.