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  • Woodshop for Kids.....is not just woodworking

    Woodworkingfor Kids.....isnot just woodworking


    Kids need Hands On activities. Many like me, most engineers, woodworkers, electricians, mechanics and designers canít think without it. But in the last couple decades, with competition from computers, videos, video games, smartphones, school cutbacks, and emphasis on academics, hands on activities get short shift. Not that long ago Newsweek(July 19, 2010) had an article on the decline in creativity of young children because of too much internet, computers, video and not enough hands-on problem solving.

    For many kids there is no better hands on activity than woodworking. First and foremost woodworking teaches kids that is people who actually make things. And if people in general make things, then perhaps they can too. Children learn to use tools which leads to the empowering idea that if you want something which you canít find, buy, or afford, then you can build it. Woodworking teaches the various parts of a project are connected; you canít alter one without affecting the other. Kids learn things can be modified or fixed. Woodworking teaches the beginnings of design.

    Woodworking helps a child work on what they need to know: Kids in a hurry learn to slow down, those who want teacher approval for everything learn to be more independent, those who think they canít build anything learn they can, and those who think they know all about building learn they donít. Woodworking helps teach kids that adults, sometimes, do actually know something; it helps them listen. Amazingly, this all happens in just a few classes, almost like magic. Kids see the results of their decisions almost immediately (no tests involved) and without an adult having to say much, if anything.

    Not that long ago every high school, middle school and many elementary schools offered woodworking. Not any more. So its left to parents, grandparents and isolated outposts of Boys and Girls clubs, park departments, churches, daycares, and private schools to teach woodworking.

    Every year I start woodworking with a new group of kids I think,ďmaybe this year they wonít be interested; maybe this year there is just too much competition from electronic gadgets.Ē And every year, Iím amazed and surprised, again, that kids still like woodworking. Actually, they LOVE it. For kids, there is just some magic about taking a few tools, some wood and creating a project. And its the most interesting, fun, and meaningful woodworking Iíve done.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Pat Day's Avatar
      Pat Day -
      Love to recreate this locally. Do you have a curriculum you can post? Lesson plans, etc. would be nice to see.
      How do you handle liability and if you have any waivers the parents sign, that would be helpful, as well. Maybe I have too many lawyers for friends...but this stuff is getting more important by the day...
      Pat.
    1. Frederick Skelly's Avatar
      Frederick Skelly -
      Jack apparently hasnt logged on in several months Pat. You might have better luck sending an email. Look at his profile and there's a button.
      Fred
    1. George Yetka's Avatar
      George Yetka -
      Im a mechanical contractor just getting back into estimating the public sector. I have estimated 3 schools in NJ in the last 4 months getting new Woodshops. Makes me very happy, though I didnt get any of them. All seamed to have excellent DC/Filtration/ Makeup air Venting outside after filtration.
    1. Le Snelling's Avatar
      Le Snelling -
      I started to teach two homeschooled boys (13 & 15) in July for course credit. We meet twice a week for 2 hrs. in my home shop. Went through shop safety, basic tool use, and built bookcases as first project. We are now learning sharpening with an eye toward learning mortise & tenon, dovetails, & box joints. There isn't much in the way of curriculum out there that I could find. I did have parents sign liability waivers.