The Importance of Hand Skills in Education
In this video, produced by Craft in America, Miguel Gomez Ibanez, the president of North Bennet Street School in Boston, talks about how hand-skills training has been at the core of all of its programs. Founded in 1885 by Pauline Agassiz Shaw, the school has been a proponent of the sloyd system of training, which was developed in Sweden and emphasizes the development of hand skills in conjunction with mental skills. The original theory is that handcrafts, such as woodworking, helped build character, intelligence, and industriousness. NBSS, originally known as Gustaf Larsson’s Sloyd Teacher Training School, helped shape the creation of industrial arts programs in the United States. With the demise of many shop programs due to budget cuts, the video is quite thought-provoking.
RESOURCES: Woodworking For Kids
Noted woodworker, author, and educator Doug Stowe produced a series of articles and woodworking project plans aimed at the youngest potential beneficiaries of this philosophy of woodworking as education. Read his article Woodworking for Kids for a comprehensive discussion of the sloyd system, and download his thoughtfully developed Kid’s Woodworking Project Plans so you can introduce a young person to woodworking.