Wednesday, November 02, 2016


I was contacted by someone wanting me to offer a woodworking curriculum for children grades k-8. As I've mentioned before, the idea of a curriculum may actually stifle the child's growth as an independent learner. "First kids are to do this, and then kids are to do that" may be overly prescriptive and trample on the interests of the teacher and child.

So what children need most is a supply of tools, a supply of materials, examples to stimulate investigation, advice on how things can be best made, someone with eagle eyes and ears to oversee safe work (but without an overbearing manner), and a challenge offered for their growth (in both skill and character development). To be clear I'll put these same points as a list and address these points one by one over the next few days:
  • Tools
  • Materials
  • Examples or models
  • Ready advice
  • Oversight for safety
  • To be challenged in skill and character development
  • To be encouraged to reflect
I regard philosophy as the starting point for program development, rather than curriculum. For what it may be worth, best selling author Matthew Crawford called me "a first class thinker about education," but I'll not let that go to my head, as doing is much better than thinking on its own.

As far as philosophy is concerned, there is none better than the principles of educational sloyd, which I repeat again for the umpteenth time.
  • Start with the interests of the child.
  • Move from the known to the unknown
  • From the easy to more difficult
  • From the simple to the complex and 
  • From the concrete to the abstract.
Each of the two sets of bullet points above are also related to each other and will be addressed in the next few days.

Yesterday I did a thorough cleaning of my wood shop (with the help of a friend, Greg), and I received my advance copies of my new book Tiny Boxes.

Make, fix, create, and suggest that others may love learning likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for getting into more details about what is involved in setting up and teaching a shop class. It is kind of ironic...the blog provides endless examples and detail of what that environment is like and is awesome - though some of the most important key aspects go unnoticed by the "observer" until they are presented in concise list as you have just done. I look forward to more details.