Harmincnyolcadik hét - péntek

[An artist in New York

Woodworking is an essential aspect of the early childhood curriculum at Le Jardin a l'Ouest. The children acquire skills connected to fine and gross motor coordination and develop a sense of competence from sawing, hammering nails and painting the pieces of balsa wood they cut.

The image shows one of the youngest boys cutting a rather large slab of balsa board. Because of the young age of these children and because this is their first experience using such tools they are required to wear goggles to protect their eyes and a leather glove to protect the hand that holds the wood.

The second picture shows a girl nearly four sawing a 1" x 1" balsa board that I have numbered from one to eighteen. Before the children are allowed to saw they must show skill with the number line. They are given a numbered board like the one in the picture and eighteen numbered cubes like the ones this child is now cutting. They must match the numbered cubes to the numbered board. Once they can perform this task they are allowed to begin cutting a numbered 1" x 1" board, as Solene is doing in the illustration.

Lily Rose is only slightly older than Solene and her expression shows the pride of having cut through the board, which has fallen to the floor. The children love the immediacy of this procedure: they move the saw with the forward motion of their arm and the sawdust cut by the teeth of the saw falls to the floor. Their is an almost instantaneous result to the action performed. They are learning direction (left-right) and the meaning of the unit. It is probably the most satisfying experience I have observed in my nearly forty years work in the early childhood classroom.

This is only the beginning project. The children are making a necklace for their mothers or fathers. When this project is completed we will begin work on a boat. They know this because we have discussed it and they are anxious to begin.

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