|Is this what schools must be like?|
Of course Froebel does not suppose that all that he counsels us to do... can be done in boyhood, — it may not even be accomplished in manhood, — but he thinks it should be the guiding principle and aim of every educator at all times. The end will not be reached by book-learning, listening, or passive contemplation, but only by action; for it is only by action that man learns to understand himself and others; only by studying the effects that he gains a knowledge of the cause. Gardening is one of the occupations Froebel would have us most carefully foster. By it the child gains his first glimpses of the wonders and beauties of nature; in it he watches the working of an unseen power; through it he learns to love labor, to use labor for the pleasure and good of others, and gains for himself a first touch of a sense of duty and responsibility. A child's activities should never, if possible, be left vague and purposeless. Just as the senses are to be organs of the mind, so the activities are to be expressions of the mind — of the mind of the actor, the child. In gardening, therefore, and in every other occupation, children should be encouraged and led by every possible means to make use of the results of their infant efforts, by giving pleasure and help to others. Work, which is also the fulfillment of duty, Froebel saw to be the only true basis of moral culture. In other words, if we infuse into work a sense of obligation to the community, to one's friends, or even only to one's better self, we readily make it a means of spiritual development, — a conception most important in its bearing on the healthiness and hopefulness of everyday, social life.In other words, action and the exercise of craftsmanship may lead to both skill and morality. Passivity in learning may actually lead in the other direction. Can it be that the idle hands are the devil's workshop?
Yesterday in the CSS wood shop, students worked on wooden dinosaurs, finished cutting boards made with local woods, and began putting feathers on arrows.
Make, fix, create, and guide others toward learning likewise.