Sunday, December 22, 2013

thus we see...

Woodworking kids at the North Bennet St. School circa 1900
I was conversing at a party last night with an old friend who has been a sculptor and maker and teacher of making most of his life, and we concluded that makers have a different view of things, and have a more holistic outlook, being much more likely to understand the interconnectedness of all things. Much the same can be said of Kindergarten. The following is from the Law of Childhood by William Nicholas Hailmann:
"Thus we see in Froebel's Gifts the outward appliances of a scheme of mental training, influencing, feeding the various phases of mental life, inward and outward, evenly, harmoniously, and with almost ideal directness and efficiency; leading the child in his thoughts and expressions, in his feelings and actions, in scope and intensity, to unity, to universality. These Gifts enable the child to give outward shape to whatever notion he may have formed of things; to express, not in words alone (which are so fleeting and uncertain), but in things, his ideas of things and of their relations; to reflect outwardly, to reproduce in visible shape the impressions which the world has made through the senses upon his consciousness. While his hands grow in skill, as they increase in size and strength, he has, too, better opportunities for comparing his notion of things with their corresponding outer realities, and for correcting and amplifying them. Every step in insight leads to a corresponding advance in expression, in skill; the pleasure that attends the increase of light which his play with the Gifts throws upon the world about him, arouses, fixes, strengthens his love of truth; every new success in obtaining clearness, adds to his firmness of purpose; every fresh triumph in the invention of simple forms of symmetry enhances his sense and appreciation of the beautiful; every intellectual gain reacts favorably and immediately upon a corresponding moral impulse; every new analysis is immediately followed by infinitely varied syntheses, in which the new elements of knowledge gained are combined and re-combined with each other and with previous cognitions in endless reproductions and inventions, in endless forms of utility and beauty, assimilated at once and wholly into the life of the organism.

This is the soul of Froebel's gifts: Unity in Universality, and Universality in Unity — One in All, and All in One. Take them where you may, and they comprise the world of the child, reducing it to simplest elements, and opening, at the same time, countless avenues in all directions to wider, higher thought, to wider, higher influence. Inward and outward, the limits of their influence and scope lie in infinity." The Law of Childhood and other papers,  -- William Nicholas Hailmann, 1891
Make, fix and create...

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