Thursday, December 14, 2017

the power of the workbench

I ran across this wonderful article on the power of the workbench:

It is distressing that so many children are being controlled by gaming platforms and iPhones when in the past, kids were left somewhat to their own devices (of hand and mind) to discover their creative capacities.
“Clunk, clunk, zzzz-zzzzz—thunk!”
These are sounds of kids using tools at a woodworking bench. Sounds once familiar and pleasurable to me during my teaching days. I no longer hear those sounds during my visits to schools, nor do I see woodworking benches as part of the classroom environments. When I talk to teachers about the importance and value of woodworking for young children, they are astonished and incredulous that I would even suggest that young children use real tools such as hammers and saws. They often laugh at such an idea and say, “Do you know what little children are like?”

Oh, but I do know what little children are like.— Judith Pack
And all good teachers have known from the earliest days of education. The following is from Comenius:
Boys ever delight in being occupied in something for the youthful blood does not allow them to be at rest. Now as this is very useful, it ought not to be restrained, but provision made that they may always have something to do. Let them be like ants, continually occupied in doing something, carrying, drawing, construction and transporting, provided always that whatever they do be done prudently. They ought to be assisted by showing them the forms of all things, even of playthings; for they cannot yet be occupied in real work, and we should play with them.
Girls, too, need to be engaged in doing real things. Community Playthings is a company in New York that makes wooden furniture, fixtures and teaching supplies for schools and pre-schools. The workbench in the photo is one of their fine products.

Make, fix, create, and allow others to learn likewise.

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