While public schools obsess over test scores, what children really need is to be encouraged to follow their interests. This can be done in a simple way. First give them the tools necessary to learn. Then sustain a nurturing environment, in which children are questioned about what they have learned, observed to see that safe practices are followed, and are then encouraged to learn more. The questioning serves in three ways. It causes them to reflect. It shows your interest in their growth. And it provides assurance that they are moving in a direction fruitful to the student's growth, and meaningful to them.
So what's the point in woodworking in a world obsessed with other things?
- It builds character.
- It builds intellect.
- It provides a concrete framework in which student learning can be witnessed and assessed both by that student and others.
- It connects the student in the real world, inviting an expanding range of additional interests.
- And more.
I’ve been telling my students at the Clear Spring School, that their practice of craftsmanship, the paying of attention, application of will, and care for the outcome of their work are the same skills required for being anything they want in future years, be they doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, inventors, mothers, fathers or whatever. Even politicians and religious leaders benefit from having the opportunity to work with wood and become grounded in reality by the process of creating useful and beautiful things.
Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn and grow likewise.