Kindergarten Shop Class


Julie Scelfo from The New York Times writes about woodworking classes that are geared toward a younger set of children, some even as young as five years old. From Brian Cohen, co-founder of Beam Camp:

“My partner and I saw that kids were spending too much time interacting with perfect interfaces,” said Mr. Cohen, 45. “We felt that we needed to provide an experience by which they could understand how perfection is achieved — and, more specifically, how that perfection is achieved by working through problems with your hands.”

And the kids seem to love it:

Louis Hyde, 13, an eighth-grader in Brooklyn, has attended Beam Camp each of the last three summers and plans to go again this year. “I did not ever really imagine there was the potential to make things on the scale that we made them,” he said. “When you finish this gigantic thing at the end of camp, it just feels so good. And you know that you were an active contributor to it.”

The article includes a nice listing of many different woodworking programs (bottom) and there’s also a great slide show.

6 thoughts on “Kindergarten Shop Class

  1. Pete Rippe says:

    The Waldorf schools have a similar approach, where I recall taking woodworking as early as 4th or 5th grade (as i remember!), we made a spoon and a bowl. older classes got to make an egg. and this was using sharp tools and hardwood, no softwood.

    Waldorf is known for knitting, music, art and foreign languages from an early age. although i’ll admit i personally had a harder time transitioning to a public high school when i moved

  2. Will Stone says:

    this makes me incredibly happy

  3. migpics says:

    Please get some safety goggles on these kids. One thing that children should learn is that safety should come first when working around tools, even if they’re hand tools.

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

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