For years now, schools across America have had to cut such valuable subjects as Home Ec (frequently called Consumer and Family Science, la di da) in favor of spending more time on the basics. Well, as a psychologist I know that there are countless ways to learn and strengthen the basic skills, so this morning I was pleased to come across an article about how a private school in Pennsylvania is making knitting and sewing an integral part of their curriculum.
At the Waldorf School, kids from kindergarten through fifth grade scrutinize their knitting, crocheting and sewing projects like students elsewhere might examine computer programs or graphing calculators. The private school in Bloomfield, Penn. — one in a network of more than 900 schools practicing Waldorf Education worldwide — is founded partly on the principle that forms of handwork such as knitting, crocheting and sewing are critical to a child’s intellectual and emotional development.
Every child in the school has two 45-minute handwork lessons per week. Kindergartners do projects such as sewing pouches for treasures found on nature walks. Fifth-graders spend much of the year knitting socks.
Knitting not only energizes the children’s tactile sense but is also instrumental in mental development, teachers say. “A child who knits when he’s 6 will be a much stronger reader. They learn to communicate between both sides of the brain.”
Students learn math, spatial and geometric skills in knitting and sewing, whether it’s first-graders counting stitches in each row of their scarves or fourth-graders creating and embroidering geometric patterns. Taking on a project like a scarf also helps teach first-graders to manage frustration and understand that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process for everyone. The culminating project in fifth grade is a pair of socks — something that takes the students nearly the whole year to complete.
Imagine the sense of accomplishment!
Link to full article