“It is a thrill and an inspiration for me to witness these young builders eagerly learning from each other in so many unlimited ways. With steady practice and hard work they find their own solutions to their projects as they improve their skills.”
-Maggie Ens, Shop Teacher
Woodworking allows the children to contribute to their community in important ways, designing practical and artistic objects for use within their Groups, the School, and their homes. Woodworking in the Lower School primarily augments group block work and is largely done at a fully stocked woodworking table beginning in the 4s. In the 6s and 7s, Shop is a weekly Special where children learn to expand their skills through the creation of items needed to complete their cities, bridges, and other elemental structures.
In the 8s through the 13s, the Jobs Program and Social Studies curriculum require and inspire students to make wood constructions reflecting their individual and group interests. For their Post Office Job, the 8s make wooden mailboxes that are placed throughout the School for community use. Based on a student’s thorough research, older children are often inspired to create realistic artifacts out of wood, such as ancient Egyptian religious objects or farming tools pioneers take on their journey west. These artifacts often act as props and set pieces in Group Plays, at times even inspiring scene development.
Children learn to accurately measure, mark, cut, and join their pieces, which may then be painted, stained, or decoupaged. In drawing their plans, they are exposed to graphing, scale work, and professional drafting tools.
Time is also carved out throughout the year for personal and collaborative creation. Some students make decorative objects, board games, or shelves, for instance. During Upper School Electives, students often initiate woodworking proposals. Recently, projects include carving baseball bats, making a dog bed, and decorative woodburning crafts.
Shop is also offered as an After School option for children in the 8s through 13s to extend their work, or start a new woodworking project.