Friday, December 08, 2006

Braiding and shaping... At Clear Spring School last week with the first and second graders we made Christmas ornaments...They practiced drawing star shapes on paper and then drew them on wood and cut them out with hand saws. Two students, feeling less confident in their star making chose to draw and cut diamond shapes instead. This week, we finished the project (except for painting), by making hangers. We introduced braiding last week for making hangers, and found that braiding with string was a bit harder than we expected. This week's solution was to use pipe cleaners. They braid easily, with each strand staying out of the way until deliberately bent into place. You should get some pipe cleaners and try it. It is fun.

When shaping objects by hand, it is obvious that the hands have the capacity to shape the material world. What is less obvious are the hands' capacities to shape the inner worlds of thought, character and emotion. With patterned hand motions like those found in braiding, come a sense of order and well-being. A sense of confidence comes as well. There is a direct linkage between the development of hand skills and the prevention of mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

It can be said that the power to shape with the hands is also the power to shape the self.

The photo above shows braided pipe cleaners. You can braid with 3 or 4, or even 5 pieces, either of solid colors, a mix of two, or all different to achieve a variety of patterns. My daughter Lucy and I began braiding with pipe cleaners when she was in kindergarten. It is a great way to develop hand skills and the power of attention. And as I stated before, it is fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment