Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Using a coping saw to make wooden feathers
This morning my first through 4th grade students will attempt to carve wooden feathers. Almost the whole school from 1st through 9th grades are engaged in the study of Ornithology, as part of our 4 year rotation, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, symbolizing the 4 Greek elements. We are in the air year of rotation. We know of course that all things are interconnected, and that the divisions between such things are tenuous at best. But the important thing is to know that not only can things be taken apart into basic components, they can reassembled into a discovery of the fabric of real life.

We are concerned with the whole child.

Kate Douglas Wiggen, 1893, expressed the idea of Kindergarten and its relationship to the manual arts as follows:
To Froebel, life, action, and knowledge were the three notes of one harmonious chord; but he did not advocate manual training merely that children might be kept busy, nor even that technical skill might be acquired. The piece of finished kindergarten work is only a symbol of something more valuable which the child has acquired in doing it. It is always the creative instinct that is to be reached and vivified; everything else is secondary. By reproduction from memory of a dictated form, by taking from or adding to it, by changing its center, corners, or sides—by a dozen ingenious preliminary steps—the child's inventive faculty is developed; and he soon reaches a point in drawing, building, modelling, or what not, where his greatest delight is to put his individual ideas into visible shape. Instead of twenty hackneyed and slavish copies of one pattern, we have twenty free, individual productions, each the expression of the child's inmost personal thought. This invests labor with a beauty and power, and confers upon it a dignity to be gained in no other way. It makes every task, however lowly, a joy, because all the higher faculties are brought into action. Much so-called "busy work," where pupils of the "A class" are allowed to stick a thousand pegs in a thousand holes while the "B class" is reciting arithmetic, is quite fruitless, because it has so little thought behind it.
Make, fix and create...

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