Three Ways Woodwork Can Help Your Child Be School Ready
As a parent of a child approaching school age, it can be quite nerve-wracking.
Wondering if they’ll be okay in the ‘big school’ environment, worrying whether they’ve learnt enough, losing sleep over whether or not you did enough counting with them as toddlers...we get it.
The thing is, school readiness isn’t actually about your ABCs and 123s. It’s about independence, confidence, and so much more. That said, a little academic knowledge is certainly an advantage - but it doesn’t have to come from outdated worksheets!
Hands on experiences are proven to provide much richer learning opportunities than simply "being told". Woodwork is an all-encompassing area of the curriculum, offering 'teachable moments' around everything - from maths to motor skills!
1. The importance of a strong pincer grip
Before your child can competently hold a pencil or pen to write their name, they’ll need to develop a nice and strong pincer grip.
Take a moment and do a little “Baby Shark” with your thumb and forefinger - that’s what we’re referring to!
You can’t run before you can walk, right? And you can’t write before you can hold a pen properly!
Here’s where carpentry comes in:
Picking up nails and screws
Using stubby screwdrivers and small tools
Holding a nail or screw steady in place
Marking out lines on woodwork creations
All of these movements are working those fine motor skills in all the right ways - preparing little hands for writing!
2. Building a sense of confidence, through carpentry
When you’ve got real tools on offer for children to get creative with, you’re letting them know you trust them.
The graduation from a plastic hammer to a real one brings a sense of pride and self-assurance to your little ones!
They’re receiving the message loud and clear: “I Can Do It!”
And, when they successfully use these tools and resources to bring their imaginations to life, this increases tenfold.
A little confidence goes a long way in a new environment, and school will bring all kinds of challenges yet unfaced for your child. By fostering their independence through the use of real tools such as saws, hammers and pliers, you’re arming your kids with the ability to face those challenges with their heads held high.
3. Build a chatterbox, while you build a planter box!
As with any learning experience, kids carpentry provides ample opportunity for conversation.
Using descriptive language with your child to discuss what they’re building and how it looks and feels is a perfect example.
Is it rough, smooth, hard, pointy? Are the tools heavy, sharp, coloured?
Alongside this, naming tools and manoeuvres used when building introduces new words and concepts to your childs brain.
Watch their vocabulary and level of understanding increase as you guide them on their woodworking journey!
Children being viewed as competent and confident learners is an integral part of the Early Childhood Curriculum here in Aotearoa - a view that carries through to the primary school curriculum.
You’re not just building creativity, you’re building an independent, self-assured learner.
So, hand them the saw, and let them know just how clever they are!