Wednesday, November 18, 2009

today in the woodshop

Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop, the first second and third grade students will continue work on their wagons for study of pioneers and westward expansion. In the meantime, I'm getting ready to spend Thanksgiving week with my daughter in New York and have arranged to meet with an associate dean at Teachers College concerning their role in the creation of the manual arts movement. So, TC and Columbia University are on my mind. Lucy is now almost half way through her 3rd year and has classes on Wednesday, so I have arranged my tour of TC for that morning, and I hope to share photos of Macy Hall, one of the American homes of the manual arts movement.

Teachers College interest in manual training emerged from the "Kitchen Garden" and kindergarten movements both of which promoted the understanding of the connection between hand and brain, and crafts and the development of character. The movement included such notables as Seth Low, Columbia University President for whom their famous Low Library was named, and Frederick A. P. Barnard founder of the prestigious women's college across the street from today's Columbia University.

The following is from The Century magazine, 1885 with regard to the New York Industrial Education movement:
There is an industrial training which is neither technical nor professional which is calculated to make better men and better citizens of the pupils no matter what calling they may afterward follow; which affects directly, and in a most salutary manner, the mind and character of the pupil, and which will be of constant service to him through all his life, whether he be wage worker or trader, teacher or clergyman. The training of the eye and of the hand are important and essential elements in all good education. These elements the State is bound to furnish.
And so, I propose a renewal of American education built on old, yet solid principles. By placing our human hands at the center of learning, our hearts, too, will be present.

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