My Philosophy

My Philosophy

The shortest version is that children need hands-on activities that build motor skills and self confidence. Woodworking requires thought organization, making decisions, and solving problems. These are skills needed for success as an adult.

Young children can be taught safe and effective ways to use hand tools and build something with wood. I’ve been doing it since 1974. My teaching philosophy is to provide safety rules (fixed), guidelines (flexible), supervision, and encouragement. Every child is successful according to the effort they exert.

More Philosophy

This is the longer version. My program is not a hammer and nails activity.  Safety and structure are built into the kid-tested techniques.  Good tools, good wood, good work space, good ideas, and easy to understand instruction make for an exciting and relevant  experience for young children.  Woodworking requires connecting what your hands are doing to what your head is thinking. For the motivated child (or adult) of any age it is an excellent medium in which to learn the relationship between actions and consequences. If you continue to drive nails or drill holes near the edge of a thin piece of wood it’s going to split and if you do it again and again, you learn the consequences and hopefully correct your technique. Young children do need to be guided to the safe and effective way to accomplish a task but there are no “mistakes” in my woodshop, only learning “what are the choices to fix that?” So my philosophy in teaching young children is to provide the rules and guidelines and at the same time encourage them to be creative in what they want their boat or car or plane to look like. I do provide many sample projects so the non-visual learner can see how the pieces might look in a particular arrangement. Most beginners do follow the patterns but whenever possible, I encourage them to consider how it might look another way. Once skills are developed, they will move on to more creative or complex projects. I don’t push that but I do encourage it with the reluctant “I can’t do that” builder if I know they are ready.  I think our hands are tied inseparably to our self-image and when you bring the product of your mind to a tangible form it builds confidence and with it self-respect.

To parents of my students:  The joy of achievement is perfect!

Sheila D.