The very first classroom ever constructed at The School in Rose Valley was the woodshop, and it has been at the heart of our school ever since. In the words of then Principal Grace Rotzel, “Working with tools furnishes one of the best disciplines a school can offer. … [The] desire to make things is so general in children that they are willing to go through much hard work to reach their ends. This is discipline.” In woodshop, children can:
- Practice perseverance and focus
- Develop fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination
- Grow socially and emotionally through self-confidence, responsibility, appreciation for self and others, and respect for materials and safety
- Practice sharing and teamwork
- Discover mathematical thinking (size, shape, volume, geometry, measurement, dimensionality), engineering skills, and creativity
What Happens in SRV’s Woodworking Classes?
At The School in Rose Valley’s woodworking classes, students develop a variety of} woodworking skills as well as ways to use different tools. However some of the most substantial learning that occurs in the shop is related to development of character. Our woodshop curriculum focuses on:
- Building self-esteem, so that children find themselves regularly ending the sentence, “I can’t do that,” with the word “yet”.
- Developing the mental resilience and intellectual fortitude required to resolve problems and learn from mistakes.
- Accepting individual responsibility for your own work as well as for the physical and safety of those around you.
- Understanding that real fulfillment from work is experienced by meeting goals you have set on your own or have completely embraced as your own.
Inside the Woodshop
Our woodshop is stocked with full-sized tools, as they are the only ones strong enough to carry out proper work. Also, full-sized tools are much better for developing kid’s muscles, strength, endurance, and regard for tools. We do have power tools, which are offered to older students who have demonstrated adequate ability and focus to handle them safely. The lathe is among our most popular tools, which our students use to make stunning lamps and bowls.
The “tinker table” is a spot where students can deconstruct old electronic devices and home appliances to see how they work or figure out how to fix them. Children can start to understand the fundamentals of circuitry and incorporate disassembled electronic parts into their woodworking projects. Students are encouraged to develop their own projects, with the condition that they must finish a project prior to beginning another. This teaches them commitment and how to persevere when they are bored or tired with something.
As students grow and their abilities develop, they attempt progressively ambitious projects. We have actually had children make go-carts, desks and chairs, and even a chicken coop. When students leave SRV they’ve developed enough skills to be comfortable handling a range of projects in the future, both in school and elsewhere.