Saturday, July 07, 2018

Learning Through Woodwork

The title of this post refers to a new book on woodworking with kids by Pete Moorhouse in the UK. I received a review copy yesterday. It is full of good information on getting started with woodworking, particularly in the early levels of school. Part of the book deals with the history of woodworking education in the primary years, making some reference to Friedrich Froebel and Rudolf Steiner.

Perhaps most useful to some will be the discussion of the teacher's role in introducing woodworking to kids. Moorhouse quotes Otto Salmon as follows:  The teachers concerns must be: "not only of how much he shall demand from the children, but of how much he shall tell them and how much he shall not tell them. The best teacher is the one that teaches least."

You can find Learning Through Woodwork here:

The point, of course, is to stage and maintain an environment of discovery, not just of distribution of information through instruction. It is also a mistake to think that you must be a skilled woodworker to teach woodworking to kids. Do it.

I am getting ready for travel to Connecticut tomorrow for my five day adult class in box making. An interesting point is that children and adults learn best in the same way, by discovery that comes from doing real things.

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

1 comment:

  1. I had placed this book in my Amazon cart when I saw your posting and now recently actually placed the order. Got the book and it is a great resource. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a goal to someday get situated in a similar setting - either in a workshop associated with some school - or just on my own, offering workshops for children to learn through woodworking. Not sure yet how that will shape up. I know that your blog has been a great inspiration - and am sure it is to others wishing to do the same.

    One of the big challenges of course is exactly how to get started.

    Here are some of my biggest apprehensions…

    1) Liabilities - How to prevent any liabilities of injury, etc. should they heaven-forbid ever occur. Of course I would want to promote all the various suggested safety measures, preventative-steps reasonably possible – and that would go a long ways – but still how to handle the hopefully rare case. I am guessing there would need to be some kind of document/form signed by responsible party to not hold you accountable financially, etc. Suggestions?

    2) Interactions with Students – How to make sure what you say & do have the most benefit to the child. Your blog gives a lot of advice and insight on that – so if I can just put that to practice I should be good. : )

    3) Expectations of Parents – Again, based on insights from your blog and other related reading the benefits gained from such a session is not something that is should be measured so much by the number of beautiful things the students make, but rather about the learnings and development of self. (related to chapter 3 of book you provide info on). As long as this is key selling point to my services then I think expectations can be managed reasonably well.

    One thing that I have got going on that is related and beneficial is a part time family owned/operated wooden toy making business (mentioned before) where we sell predominantly to furniture shops - most in the Central & Eastern states but also occasionally in the West. My five lovely children participate not only in aspects of the toy making process – but also have leisure to build whatever they want in the shop. My youngest (6 years old) is a great inspiration for me in that every time someone’s birthday comes up, she’s out on her very own workbench (constructed after the one you have on your blog) where she spends a few minutes thinking about what she wants to make and then BAM, within a rather short period of time (usually an hour or so) she has it made whatever she dreamt up. This gives me some experience in item b above in that I try to think a bit about how to respond when she asks me certain questions.

    Sorry for the rambling. Thanks for all that you do. Someday I would like to visit you at your school.