Monday, June 07, 2021


There are two types of sloyd or slöjd, that practiced at home as a component of daily life, and that practiced in schools as an essential part of education. Hemslöjd, or home sloyd refers to the practice of crafts in a family setting, and is a vital means of passing Scandinavian culture between generations. Educational sloyd is a means of supporting the education of the whole child, stimulating the relationship between mind and body, thus invigorating both. The sloyd knife is a symbol of both types of sloyd for it was a tool useful in home crafts, and also in the education of each child.

When I visited Sweden in 2006 for a conference and made a point of visiting Nääs, Otto Salomon's teacher training school for sloyd, I was surprised to learn the full range of educational sloyd. Of course there was a wood shop for teachers to learn to teach woodworking to kids but there were also a gymnasium and fields for athletics. Sloyd was not just for the education of hands and minds, but the whole body as well. And for teachers, there were lectures preparing them for a deeper understanding of progressive educational theory and techniques. The photo shows a slightly younger version of me standing in the classroom where thousands of teachers were taught to teach woodworking to kids.

Make, fix and create...

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