I ran across the following yesterday from New Zealand in the in the 19th century. How can that be relevant today?
...so far as the elementary school is concerned, manual training is to be valued not so much for its direct results, important though these may be, as for its disciplinary effects—that is to say, for the contribution it makes towards the development of character and intelligence. I have already alluded to the intimate interdependence of hand and brain. That inter-dependence has long been more or less vaguely recognised, but the recent researches of Ferrier and others have given a new meaning to the phrase. It has been shown that there are in the brain distinct motor-centres, of which those of the hand are specially important; that these motor centres have a distinct but limited period of growth, extending over, roughly, the period from the fourth to the fifteenth years; that their development depends on adequate exercise of the corresponding muscles during this period; that these motor-centres are so intimately connected with other parts of the brain that if they are imperfectly developed there is apt to be a corresponding loss of mental power.So many of the problems of today are related to an educational misunderstanding... The idea has been that children must be led to learn, whereas in actual fact, they are too often restrained from learning by the failure to use appropriate and readily available resources.
Learning is THE most natural impulse, and yet we've designed schools in which children's most powerful learning resource is restrained from use. There are several simple ways the hands can be put in service of character, and intelligence. Athletics can help, as will music, the arts, and the making of useful objects in service to community, humanity, and the quest for beauty. Still the hands, spoil the child, and spoil the mind of the child.
The photo above is of the new lathe room at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. The large beams are ready to install over the machine room in the coming days.
Make, fix, create, and extend toward others the hope of learning likewise.