Monday 8th November
At The Waldorf School of Philadelphia it has long been the tradition for the eighth grade students to teach the first graders how to knit. So it was last week that the soon to be high schoolers sat among the nineteen first graders and ever so patiently taught the skills of knitting. By all accounts it was a tremendously successful morning!
Knitting is just one component of the Handwork curriculum at WSP and is important and integral to overall learning in the school. Other aspects of the Handwork curriculum include embroidery, wet felting, hand sewing and crocheting and later clay modeling and fine arts. Handwork helps to build an unconscious foundation of knowledge from which to draw for later subjects such as geometry, physics, math and science. Recent research suggests a connection between the use of fine motor skills and brain development. Knitting involves the use of fine motor skills and uses both sides of the brain, reinforcing among other things eye-tracking and numeracy. Of course my seven-year old Waldorf kid neither knows nor cares about any of this. For him and his fellow class-mates knitting is just plain fun!