It is always a joy to see the intense concentration and sense of purpose our children display given an opportunity to use woodworking tools, like hand saws, hammers, measuring tapes, and screw drivers. They show us with pride what they are capable of when trusted with real tools.
Carpentry is open-ended, often requiring problem solving on many levels, giving children the opportunity to manipulate materials, simple tools, build things and, at the same time, to develop and practice a wide range of practical skills like understanding measurement, length, size, balance and force.
Children are highly motivated to play in risky ways, but they are also very good at knowing their own capabilities and avoiding risks they are not ready to take, either physically or emotionally.
Children often model what they see others doing with great enthusiasm. With guidance they get tremendous pleasure from being trusted with what they consider risky tools requiring them to show how they can behave responsibly, they are provided with multiple opportunities to master new skills and achieve what they couldn’t do before.
Benefits of woodworking projects can include:
An opportunity to gain increasing control over their bodies, spatial awareness, hand–eye coordination, physical manipulation skills and muscular strength. Woodworking is an excellent way to practice problem solving in a creative 3-dimensional way.
Children are free to learn by trying out their working theories in a hands on way. Children learn to observe, predict and experiment with each tool and material they want to manipulate, developing their sense of precision and a sense of understanding of how to use potentially dangerous tools.
There are always limited resources and physical space limitations to the carpentry area, providing opportunities to practice and learn to share and cooperate with others.
Woodworking is always a supervised area. Safe behaviour and rules are discussed with the children as necessary:
• No tools above head height.
• Never run with tools.
• Don’t remove tools from the woodworking area.
• Use each tool correctly.
• Always wear shoes when working with tools and at the carpentry bench.